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Choose the Right Type of Senior Living

Consider this list when choosing independent or assisted living, memory care or a continuing care retirement community or a life plan community.

When you decide you’d rather live in a community than age in place at home, the next step is choosing the right place. The choices are many and include independent living, assisted living, memory care and a continuing care retirement community or a life plan community. Asking yourself these questions will help you make up your mind about which community is the right choice for your needs.

Asking the Right Questions about Senior Living

How you answer community-specific questions can be a good indicator of what type of senior living community will be a good fit.

Independent Living

Older adults who choose an independent living community often do so for reasons of convenience and socialization. Is it right for you? Ask yourself:

  • Are you an active, independent senior?
  • Can you safely manage your personal care needs?
  • Are you able to independently manage your medications?
  • Do you intend – and are you able – to maintain your active lifestyle?

When you prefer not to worry about household maintenance and repairs, so you have more time for life enrichment activities, travel and family, an independent living community could be a very good choice.

Assisted Living

Adult children and their aging parents often find an assisted living community to be an agreeable compromise. The senior maintains their privacy and independence in a private apartment or suite. And their adult child will feel confident their parent is safe and has the extra care and support they need.

Is assisted living the right choice?

  • Are there signs more help is needed with the activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing?
  • Are there increasing concerns about personal care and safety?
  • Have there been falls – or a series of falls?
  • Is meal preparation becoming more difficult? Are there signs of hunger – or evidence that dietary and nutrition needs aren’t being met?
  • Has the family caregiver become worn-out, or are they experiencing health problems of their own?
  • Do home care expenses exceed the cost of moving to an assisted living community?
  • Do mobility issues make it difficult (or impossible) to safely maneuver inside and outside the home?
  • Are you worried about isolation?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you should find out more about the assisted living communities near you.

Memory Care

Specialized care for adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of age-related dementia is often referred to as memory care. While no cure has yet been found for Alzheimer’s, memory care programs continue to benefit from research. Today, these programs are quite effective in maintaining the quality of life for those who have memory loss. Consult with your physician if you answer yes to any of the following about your loved one:

  • Is around-the-clock supervision required for safety?
  • Are there difficult-to-manage behaviors, such as Sundowner’s Syndrome, wandering or aggression?
  • Is it a struggle to remain engaged in meaningful activities?

Finally, is caring for your loved one taking a toll on your family or your career? Are you or others involved in care developing ailments attributable to stress and emotional/physical overload? If you answer yes to any of these questions, it’s time to consult professionals and get to know more about memory care programs near you.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) or Life Plan Community

These campus-like environments offer a full continuum of senior care from independent living to assisted living and skilled nursing. Many also offer home care, memory care and hospice services. Typically, however, CCRCs or life plan communities are the choice of seniors eager to remain independent and active while lining up a plan for their future, too. Is this right for you?

  • Are you looking for a community that meets your current active, independent agenda, but can also accommodate future changes to your health?
  • Would you prefer not to ask your adult children for help someday with caregiving for yourself or your spouse?
  • Do you need one type of senior living, but your spouse requires another?

A CCRC or life plan community can be a good long-term solution for seniors who want a comprehensive senior care community with a variety of options for now and the future.

Where You Live Matters
To continue learning more about senior living and how where you live influences how well you live, we invite you to read 3 Keys to Longevity: Lifestyle, Environment and Genetics. It may offer further insight as you educate yourself on the options and work toward a decision. And to learn more about specific communities use our Community Locator Tool.

Where You Live Matters is powered by the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), a respected voice in the senior housing industry. ASHA primarily focuses on legislative and regulatory advocacy, research, and educational opportunities and networking for senior living executives, so they can better understand the needs of older adults across the country.