Senior Retirement Lifestyles
|Written by Ken Teegardin|
SeniorLiving.Org Expert on Chief Editor | Caregiver
Whether you need help finding the right retirement community for a loved one or for yourself, we’ll show you what to expect from each senior lifestyle option. We know this can be a stressful period in your life so we’ll try to make it easy. We’ll give you just the facts.
According to The Assisted Living Federation of America: “Senior living (or senior housing and care) is a lifestyle choice for individuals seeking an independent lifestyle with as much assistance as they need or want. The settings are just like our own homes, but with the added advantage of meals and entertainment, housekeeping, transportation, and assistance with daily activities.”
How do you know when it’s time to consider senior living?
If performing daily activities is difficult without help from others. Maybe you are no longer able to drive because of loss of vision.
Shopping for yourself is hard because you get fatigued.
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Cleaning your home is a task you’re no longer physically able to do.
Or maybe your memory loss has reached a point where you need assistance for safe daily living. You could be living alone and desire the company of others.
Some seniors have no trouble taking care of themselves; they just want to live with their peers in an independent community that is senior-focused.
Let’s look at these lifestyle choices.
There are three main options for senior living: Independent living communities, assisted living communities, and nursing homes. A fourth special option for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is called a Special Care Unit (SCU).
Independent living communities are places for active, healthy seniors who are able to live on their own. The main highlights of independent living communities:
- Home, townhouse, apartment, mobile home or motor home
- Rent or buy
- Usually for those age 55 or older
- Offer amenities like clubhouses, gyms, yard maintenance, housekeeping and security.
- Also, transportation, laundry service, group meals and social activities
- On-site attendant
- Cost between $1,500 to $10,000 per month
Assisted Living Communities are for seniors who value their independence but who may need some assistance with their daily activities such as meals, dressing, bathing, help with medication and transportation. The main features of an assisted living community:
- Condos or apartments with 25 to 120 units
- Single rooms to full apartments
- Three meals a day in a common dining area
- Staff available for personal needs
- Amenities like 24-hour security, housekeeping, medication management, laundry service, exercise programs, social activities and transportation
- Emergency call systems in-house
- Care for dementia/Alzheimer’s patients
- Median rate for private one-bedroom apartment is $2,575 a month
Nursing Homes are for people who can’t care for themselves but who don’t need a hospital. Resident care can be for chronic conditions or for short term rehabilitative care. The main features of a nursing home:
- Nursing staff on-duty 24 hours a day
- Hospital-like setting but some are in individual homes
- Medicaid pays for care for 7 out of every 10 nursing home residents
- Medicare generally does not pay for nursing home care
- The average cost for a private room is $219 a day
- The average cost for a semi-private room is $198 a day
Special Care Units are facilities dedicated to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The main features of an SCU:
- Provides active therapy and behavioral management
- Fosters a therapeutic environment to keep resident as independent as possible
- Should have full-time activities director who schedules 60 hours per week of activities
- A daytime staffing ratio of 1 staff for every 5 residents; a nighttime ratio of 1 to 9.
- Average cost of Alzheimer’s SCU private room is $233 a day.
- Average cost of Alzheimer’s SCU semi-private room is $208 a day.
As you can see, for every situation there is a solution, for every senior there is a lifestyle option that will fit their individual needs. And these communities are just the beginning. There are communities that are faith-focused, outdoor leisure focused, golf-focused, and other activities that may interest seniors.
Once you’ve determined the kind of community you need, check out our extensive directory of senior options.
Here are introductions to some of your senior living options:
- Independent Living
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Skilled Nursing Centers
- Alzheimer's And Memory Care
- In Home Care
- Respite Care
- Hospice Care
- Retirement Communities
- 55 Plus Communities
- Convalescent Homes
- Congregational Living
- Active Senior Living
If you would like to see your local options, just enter your neighborhood into the search at the top of the page and then use the tabs across the top to narrow your selection.
Updated: Feb 21, 2011
|Shirley Scott On Jan 23, 2013
I am gathering information for independent retirement. I live in Kaneohe, Hi. I'm just beginning my research. A studio or small appt. may be perfect. I am unable to keep up the property where I live, and need to simplify my life. The information was somewhat helpful. I have to sell my house first, and may have a buyer already. I need more information on Oahu. Thank You, Shirl