Best 3 Types of Senior Assisted Living

The older you become, the harder it is to live alone. When you get older, your immune system becomes weaker, making it easier to become sick. You are also vulnerable to certain illnesses or conditions which more commonly affect seniors. While this presents additional challenges, it does not necessarily mean you must lose your independence.

There are three primary types of senior living available. These are independent senior homes, long-term care homes and assisted senior living housing. Each type of housing is designed with different seniors in mind. As you get older, it is important to assess your housing needs, and if you are no longer able to live comfortably at home, you must consider what type of senior housing is best for you.

Assisted Senior Living

The majority of seniors live in an assisted living community. Assisted living means you are able to own and maintain your own home in a community, but you require some additional assistance from a caregiver. The caregiver does not live with you in an assisted living community. Instead, the caregiver visits you throughout the week. How often you receive assistance depends entirely on your needs. For example, if you need help taking a daily medication, your caregiver will visit each day.

Some services are automatically provided in an assisted senior living facility. The exact amenities vary depending on location, but the majority of communities offer a dining hall open to all seniors. It is also common for facilities to include transportation options. Some provide general transport to public locations, while others are reserved strictly for medical visits or other set appointments. There are often public facilities available as well, such as gyms, pools, recreation halls, restaurants and salons.

The cost of assisted senior living varies depending on where you live. Every year, Genworth conducts a national survey to determine the average cost of living in an assisted senior living. In 2019, the cost was around $4,000.

There are two different billing methods for assisted senior living. Some facilities use an all-inclusive package, which means your costs covers rent, meals, utilities and any amenities offered on sight. The other option is fee-for-service, a customizable plan where you only pay for the services you need. Your insurance may cover some of the costs for assisted living. Through Medicaid, you can apply for Medicaid Waives, also known as Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers to cover rent costs. States also have financial assistance services for seniors. There are also nonprofit groups that help with assisted senior living costs.

In an assisted senior living facility, you own your home, typically either a condo or an apartment complex. However, you are part of a community, so there may be additional rules you must follow, such as when visitors are allowed to arrive, or having to park in specific locations.

Independent Senior Homes

Independent senior homes are available for seniors who can take care of themselves without any outside assistance. The main difference between independent communities and assisted living is the lack of additional amenities. Independent living communities often have recreational facilities available, like gyms or restaurants, but there are no caregivers to help you with cleaning or taking medication.

The main purpose of independent senior homes is to give seniors a comfortable community where they can interact with one another. Many communities hold social events throughout the week, but because you have total freedom over your schedule, you are never forced to participate in events.

Independent senior homes are typically less expensive than assisted or long-term care facilities, since independent seniors require less resources overall. There is more variance among the cost based on location. In 2019, the average price was between $1,500 and $2,500.

Long-Term Senior Care

Long-term senior is available for seniors who are unable to independently take care of themselves. Long-term senior care is often associated with nursing homes and other facilities, but this is not always the case. You can receive long-term care while still living in your home. This largely depends on the level of assistance you need. For example, seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s struggle with most day to day tasks and are unable to maintain a household. Their options are either live in a nursing home, or move in with a caregiver, typically a family member. Seniors who are mentally coherent but unable to clean or cook for themselves may be able to stay in their homes but receive daily assistance from caregivers. In some cases, medical professionals are required, while other services are provided through senior support groups, such as Meals on Wheels.

The costs vary depending on your exact needs. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average costs for nursing home care is around $6,000 to $7,000. In-home care is a little more expensive than assisted senior living, typically costing around $4,200 to $4,300. As with assisted senior living, your insurance may cover the costs of long-term senior care.