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As you start to learn about senior housing options, you’re sure to find there are a lot of choices. In many cases, you'll discover that retirement community types are often defined by the level of care residents need. Becoming familiar with different types of retirement housing can help you choose a senior living community that suits you best.

What Are 55+ Active Adult Communities?

55+ lifestyle communities are 55+ age-restricted communities that offer resort-style amenities and social activities. These may be ownership, rental or land lease communities. Learn more about Everleigh's active adult communities to see if they could be the right fit for you! 

Independent Living (IL) For Seniors

Independent Living Communities are ideal for individuals who can still live independently but enjoy having access to assistance when needed.  Services include dining, medical care, entertainment and more. Hospitality services, such as housekeeping, meals, and laundry may or may not be included in the monthly rental, but are typically available.

Active Adult Living vs. Independent Living

The distinguishing feature of active adult living communities is that they are age qualified for adults 55 and older. Residents live independently and in their own homes but enjoy resort-style community amenities, such as fitness centers, swimming pools, and cafés. In addition, these communities often sponsor social activities such as shopping trips, parties, and concerts.

A key thing to consider is that active adult living communities do not provide care to residents who need assistance with day-to-day living activities. Those who need this kind of care should consider an independent living community.

Assisted Living (AL) for Seniors

Assisted Living provides a special combination of residential housing, personalized supportive services and care. Assisted living is a great option for individuals who have difficulty with daily activities needed for living independently. Residents live independently, but receive regular support for a range of daily activities including cleaning to meal preparation, housekeeping, maintenance services, laundry services, utilities, transportation, meals, and additional care services, such as medication management or assistance taking a shower.

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home

There is often some confusion about assisted living communities and nursing homes. As with other types of senior housing, the distinction is best understood as the level of care required. Assisted living communities often resemble independent living communities in that residents enjoy a resort-like atmosphere and may reside in their own homes. Certified nursing assistants and home health care aides assist residents with things like bathing, dressing, and taking medication. The health and well-being of residents is also monitored by community staff members.

Nursing homes, on the other hand, are health care facilities that provide residents with skilled nursing care. While a resident may have his or her own room, he or she won’t have her own kitchen and will likely eat all meals communally. Doctors, nurses, and other professionals develop a plan that may include assistance with every aspect of the resident’s daily routine and long-term care.

Nursing Care

Nursing Care or Skilled Nursing Facilities, are designed for seniors who are in need of 24-hour nursing care.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

Continuing Care Retirement Communities are residential campuses that provide a continuum of care from assisted living to skilled nursing care, all in one location.

Home Care

Home Care is a general term to describe services delivered at home to recovering, disabled, or terminally ill persons in need of medical, nursing, social, or therapeutic treatment.

Adult Day Care

Daily structured programs in a community setting with activities and health-related and rehabilitation services to the elderly who are physically or emotionally disabled and need a protective environment.

Alzheimer's or Memory Care

Alzheimer’s Care provides specialized care and housing tailored to the special needs of individuals with this disease.

Low Income Senior Housing

55+ Communities, Independent Living and Assisted Living communities offering one of several different government assistance programs designed for low-income seniors. Income restrictions generally apply and individuals must meet certain criteria to qualify for the assistance. The two most common programs are the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.

Finding Affordable Senior Housing

Affordability is a major concern for many seniors. There are several programs available to assist with senior housing, though there can be a waiting list for housing benefits and services. Senior housing vouchers and facilities exist in many communities and cap rents at 30 percent of a resident’s monthly income. Seniors can contact their area’s department of senior or family services to apply for these benefits.

Religious denominations and fraternal organizations also maintain senior housing communities. Those who are interested in these options should contact their clergyperson or organization president for information on applying for housing.

Respite Care-Short Term Stay

Temporary relief from duties for caregivers, ranging from several hours to days. May be provided in-home or in a residential care setting such as an assisted living facility or nursing home.