Senior housing refers to living accomodations for those 55 years and older. Senior housing includes a wide variety of alternatives for those in this age bracket, including independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes, among other options.
Independent Living, often referred to as Retirement Communities, Congregate Living or Senior Apartments, are designed specifically for independent senior adults who want to enjoy a lifestyle filled with recreational, educational and social activities with other seniors. These communities are designed for seniors who are able to live on their own, but desire the security and conveniences of community living. Some communities offer an enriched lifestyle with organized social and recreational programs as a part of everyday activities (Congregate Living or Retirement Communities), while others provide housing with only a minimal amount of amenities or services (Senior Apartments).
Some Independent Living Communities offer abundant recreational activities which may include swimming pool/spas, exercise facilities, Clubhouse/Lounge and Library/ Reading Lounges. Communities may also provide laundry facilities, linen service, meals or access to meals, local transportation, and planned social activities. Communities can be either “Age Inclusive” or “Age Exclusive.” Age Inclusive communities attract retirees, but do not have age-requirements whereas Age Exclusive communities do have senior age-requirements (usually age 55 and older).
Assisted Living Facilities provide a special combination of residential housing, personalized support services and healthcare. These residential settings maximize independence, but do not provide skilled nursing care. Assisted Living may offer the same features as independent living communities, with the added assistance of personal care. It is designed to meet the individual needs of those requiring help with activities of daily living, but do not need the skilled medical care provided in a nursing home.
Nursing Homes, or Skilled Nursing Facilities, are designed for seniors who are in need of 24-hour nursing care. Nursing Facilities provide many of the same residential components of other senior care options including room and board, personal care, protection supervision, and may offer other types of therapy. Their onsite medical staff sets them apart from other types of senior housing. Nursing care is provided by registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), and nurses aides at all hours of the day.