Senior Housing

Finding the right type of senior housing for a loved one can be overwhelming and frustrating.  Depending on your loved one's location, the options can be numerous or very limited.

The first step is understanding what types of options may be available and understanding what those options can provide.  Click on the link for each care type to get a more in-depth explanation of what each option provides.

emeritus at park place assisted living

Senior Housing Options Defined

In Home Care – In Home Care or Private Caregiving is a widely used option to help keep people in their own homes or with family when care needs arise.

Home-Health Care– Home Health Care refers to the skilled side of home services provided by Medicare.  Home Health includes services like Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech-language pathology (therapy) Services, Medical Social Work, wound care, IV or nutrition therapy, and Injections that can all be provided in the home with orders from a physician.

Adult Day Centers– Adult Day Centers (also known as; Adult Day Services, Adult Day Care, and Adult Day Care Centers) can be a welcome respite for families and spouses caring for a loved one.  These facilities may provide meals, activities, transportation, and hands-on care for those needing assistance with activities of daily living.

Retirement Living– Independent or Retirement Living Communities are most appropriate for those who can manage their health care needs on their own or with assistance from family or private caregivers in an apartment type setting. Independent Living does not offer health care services or assistance, but may offer a monthly meal plan, housekeeping, social activities, and transportation.

Assisted Living– Assisted Living Communities (ALF) provide a structured setting for people with a variety of care needs in an apartment type setting.  The needs of people who live in an Assisted Living Community range from independent to needing assistance with all Activities of Daily Living(ADL’s).  Also see: Ebook- How to Choose Assisted Living Like a PRO!

Adult Care Homes– Adult Care Homes (ACH) (also known as Adult Foster Care, or Adult Family Homes) are located in residential areas throughout many metro cities in the United States.  You may not even recognize an Adult Care Home in your neighborhood, unless there is signage for advertising.

Dementia Care– Dementia Care, Memory Care, and Alzheimer’s Care communities  are licensed and designed specifically for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. These secure, specialized units offer services and structure specially designed to accommodate those with various dementia diagnosis.

Nursing Homes– Traditional Nursing Homes are much different today than the dreaded institution of long ago.  Even the term “nursing home” is being phased out as these facilities are being defined by one of two categories; Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) and Intermediate Care Facility (ICF).  Many of these facilities offer both levels of care under the same roof.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities– Continuing Care Retirement Communities, also known as CCRC’s, offer a continuum of care within one community or campus.  CCRC’s offer the security of an “until end of life” guarantee of housing, activities, and increase in levels of care as needs change for members.  CCRC’s contain Independent Living options (apartments, or single level homes), Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing Facility services.  Some also offer Memory or Dementia Care units.  CCRC’s also come with a price.


  1. I wanted to thank you for helping me learn about some different senior housing options. I didn’t know that Assisted Living Communities can help give a structured setting for the needs of a variety of people. This seems incredibly important especially if the care needs to be specialized based on a person’s condition.

  2. I would like to see The Senior List mention housing for seniors that are mostly healthy and do not need medical assistance but prefer neighbors of 55+ ages. Communities such as manufactured 55+ and intentional communities are what I have in mind.

  3. I never knew that there are some senior living areas that can have specific care for people with Alzheimer’s. My mother has been having some trouble remembering some small things around the house, and we are concerned that she won’t be able to live on her own. I will be sure to tell my wife that we should try and get my mom to an Alzheimer’s senior home.

    1. Check with a local Senior Housing Referral agency in you area. We know the in’s and out’s of all the senior living communities within our geographic local

  4. One option I don’t see on this list is one that had to be in place long before a person needs help with Activities of Daily Living. It’s possible (some research beginning to happen) that having a home-mate, in other words not living alone, may prolong health. We do know that loneliness leads to all sorts of physical and emotional problems. And no one want to admit to being lonely – somehow that’s shameful. We are advocating for people to share housing. We are a 501(c)(3) working on promoting this idea. We also have a site aimed at individuals to teach them how to do this!

  5. Thanks for the wonderful article detailing the differences between senior housings. I’m very interested in the assisted living part. Since there they provide a structured setting for people with a variety of care needs in an apartment type setting. The needs of people who live in an Assisted Living Community range from independent to needing assistance with all Activities of Daily Living. It seems to be the perfect combination of a health care facility while being familiar with its apartment theme. I’ll try looking into one and see if my father would be happy there.

  6. I appreciate you helping me learn more about the senior housing options. It’s good to know that assisted living provides a structured setting for people with a variety of care needs. This is a highly considerable option for my parents.

  7. Thanks for the list of the great options for senior living. It seems like assisted living would be a good choice, since it’s like an apartment. My dad needs to be moved out of his home, but he still wants some independence.

  8. It’s nice to know that there are a lot of ways my mother could live. Personally, I’d love her to be “in-home care” or if needed “assisted living”. It’s ultimately her choice, but I would want my mom to be near her grandchildren. Thanks for the great article! I’ll be sure to read more into this.

  9. Thank you for explaining the different types of senior housing that are available. I especially appreciate your comments on the services available for assisted living. It is good to know that it is still apartment style housing. I feel this still provides a feel of independence, which I feel is very necessary for elderly parents. I will keep these in mind as I search for senior housing in my area!

  10. Thanks for your comment about how seniors could live in independent living communities if they can cover their own health care, or if they have help from family. I didn’t know that social activities were provided in these housing situations. My grandmother is a senior citizen, and we are considering senior independent living communities for her.

  11. That seems valuable that ACH’s are located in residential areas. You might be able to find a place relatively close to your residence. It’s really important to our family to share family time, and a place like that could work for us. We’ve been trying to take care of grandma, but it’s so hard between work and kids.

  12. I didn’t know that there are so many different options for senior living and care. It makes sense that there need to be different options, though, because not all seniors need the same amount of care. My mom is having a hard time living on her own with all of her heart issues and I think it could be time for her to move into a senior living community, just so she has the care and help that she needs.

  13. Can no longer live independently but am not ready for an expensive senior-care facility or assistant living?

    Buy out half of my manufactured home in beautiful and coastal Oceanside, Ca at a very low cost and receive me as your personal assistant. You will be independent and have fun. My mobile home park has a pool and jacuzzi and a beautiful lake to enjoy. You will have your own private bedroom and bath, laundry, cooking, and cleaning services and transportation.

    I am a public school teacher with a Master’s and have various government background clearances.

    I am also a certified yoga instructor and massage therapist.

    Email for more information.


    1. I want to relocate to California for its’ climate and other opportunities. I am a disabled former Scientist/Chemist who seeks entry into the Cannabis Industry. Tennessee is too far away from progress, and I am too old to wait! Please offer more information on this rental. Thanks.

    2. sounds like heaven to me…please give me more I am an artist , had a massage practice for 15 years,ex teacher elementary . am a healthy 86 senior. i d like to be near the coast . im in a senior apt now but am looking for something in a more interesting area.. thanks.Donna

  14. My mother is about at the age where it is harder for her to take care of herself. I think a retirement living center would be best for her because she can do most things on her own, but could use the assistance of her family from time to time as you mention. I’ll have to see what she thinks about moving into a facility in the next few years.

  15. That sounds valuable that senior living may offer some forms of transport. A person may still be able to care for themselves, but that could make things easier. My grandma wants to move to a community so that she can be around people her own age.

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