When contemplating various places to live, the first question potential senior residents ask is, “What’s the difference between a retirement home, an assisted living home, and a nursing home?” The second question is naturally, “How do I determine which would be best for me?” Although these aren’t the only questions seniors need to ask, they are a critical start to choosing the home that’s right for them:
“What’s the difference?…”
- A retirement community is where residents live independently, have access to recreational activities, opportunities for socialization, prepared meals, a safe and secure environment, and minor medical care available to them.
- An assisted living facility offers some nursing care, housekeeping, and prepared meals for seniors. These facilities come in all forms and sizes; the smallest in the U.S. having only four beds, while the largest has almost 500.
- A nursing home is often called a skilled nursing facility. It is a residence for ill seniors who need medical attention.
The first factors to consider when choosing each of these are location, size, services, transitional care, and cost.
“How do I determine which would be best for me?”
This is a much more complex question that involves some research on the part of the senior and his/her loved ones. There is an endless range of services offered by each of the various senior living facilities. Some of these services may be critical in the life of the senior (such as specific medical assistance), while others may be simply a matter of preference and convenient living (such as woodworking classes or weekly outings.)
Quite often residents desire to stay in one community through each stage of their aging, and many facilities offer this transitional care in order to prevent unnecessary moves in this season of life. Where You Live Matters is a great resource that offers extensive questions to ask when considering which living environment is right for you or your loved one.
Choosing a community to call home can seem like a daunting task. If you are considering it for yourself or your loved one, be sure to visit several communities and know your options. When you visit, request to speak to a facility’s Resident Coordinator, who should be available to answer questions and help in the process of evaluating what will best meet your needs.