Senior Housing Glossary: Assisted Living, Alzheimer’s Care, Independent Living, More

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 02 May 2011

Today’s senior housing market offers numerous options for those seeking care for a loved one in a community setting. Each type of senior housing, from assisted living to independent living and a few in between, provides a different level of senior care and services. Review several of them below to help as you decide on senior living for a parent or elder loved one:

Independent living/Retirement Living:
Independent living or retirement living is designed for active, healthy seniors who want to live as independently as possible. These independent living and retirement living communities often provide spacious apartments (in a variety of floor plans), a host of social/life-enrichment activities geared specifically for seniors, and several meal plan/dining options.

Assisted Living:
Designed for seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living — bathing, dressing, eating, etc. — also known as ADLs, or instrumental activities of daily living — shopping, writing letters, maintaining a budget, etc. — also known as IADLs, assisted living communities are a popular option for senior citizens who are not quite ready for a nursing home but need more care than an independent living community can provide.

Home Care:
Skilled care services like wound care and non-skilled services such as light housekeeping can be provided to seniors “in-house” via home care. Those opting for this aging-in-place arrangement may receive these services around the clock, or for a few hours per day/week, depending on the care needs/preferences of the individual.

Alzheimer’s/Memory Care:
Alzheimer’s Care and Memory Care is sometimes delivered in a stand-alone facility or as part of a larger care community. These specialized Alzheimer’s Care and Memory Care units are often secured and have higher staff-to-resident ratios; staff are trained to provide care specific to those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

- Michelle Seitzer


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