When beginning the process of choosing a senior living arrangement for yourself or a loved one, the many different types of senior care facilities can be overwhelming. What exactly do all these different terms mean? Which one is best for your situation? Below is an explanation of the difference among several types of senior care. Independent Living This arrangement is made up of individual homes or apartments for seniors who are basically self-sufficient, especially when it comes to their personal care. Seniors who are a fit for independent living can dress and bathe themselves and are still enjoying an active lifestyle. Residents have the option of cooking on their own and keeping their own car, though often meals and transportation to places like shopping centers, local parks, or the movies is provided. The key benefits of this type of senior care are extra security and emergency alert systems to bring help quickly (giving seniors and their families peace of mind), no need to worry about home maintenance tasks like mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters, and a community with plentiful activities so that seniors need not fear being isolated or lonely. Independent living campuses often feature some kind of clubhouse, social center, and/or community dining. Some may even have pools or spas. The environment is designed to be friendlier to seniors than regular housing: for example, doors are wider, floors have non-slip surfaces, and stairs are kept to a minimum. One downfall to this arrangement is that seniors may be paying for more than they need. It’s more cost effective for them to live in a regular residence if they don’t want the extras that independent living communities provide and they already have an active social life and healthy network of support. Assisted Living These facilities allow seniors to maintain some independence and privacy while still getting help with daily needs. Seniors who need assistance with getting dressed, bathing, or remembering to take their medications are a good fit for this option. These facilities are designed for help to be very easily accessible at any hour of the day or night. In the past, seniors who needed this level of care could only choose between relying on family or a hired caregiver for intensive help or moving into a nursing home. Today assisted living has stepped in to fill the gap for seniors who have trouble with daily activities but do not need constant medical supervision. Assisted living is often cheaper than receiving the same level of care at home. The facilities can range from apartments or rooms to specially converted homes. The environment is inviting and comfortable with couches and well-decorated rooms, and sometimes features like gardens or fireplaces. Some if not all of the meals are prepared for the residents with attention to their dietary needs and preferences, and are served in the facility’s dining room. The staff will also provide social activities and foster a community. The relationships seniors can develop here among others who are their own age is one of the biggest benefits of this type of senior care. They are freed from daily worries and difficult tasks and can now simply enjoy their time. The facility will transport residents to medical appointments off-site and employ nurses to make sure the residents are getting the care they need. However, they usually do not have medical staff on duty at all hours nor are they supervised by a physician. Seniors who need a higher level of care would be better served by a nursing home. Excellent assisted living facilities know that independence and freedom are important to seniors, and try to maximize their residents’ ability to do things on their own as much as possible. The care should be personalized to your particular situation and take into account what you are still able to do and your own desires about your quality of life. Nursing Homes Nursing homes provide full-time medical care, and can only accept residents who have been referred to this type of facility by a physician. Seniors and their families can know that here medical help is immediately available with a nurse on staff round-the-clock and a doctor supervising the care plan. Nursing homes are in some ways similar to assisted living facilities in that they help seniors with their daily routines and provide meals and activities. The difference is that due to the medical needs of the residents they can feel more like a hospital than a home. Some find this environment unpleasant, and the mental toll can lead to additional health problems. At some nursing homes, receiving adequate care can be difficult, and the senior’s family needs to be highly involved to insure that their loved one is not neglected or mistreated. For most, the best choice is to avoid nursing homes until they become necessary, especially since the intensive care they provide makes them the most expensive type of senior care. It’s important that you choose a type of senior care that meets your medical and daily needs while not overspending for services you are unlikely to use.   Do you still have questions about the different options? The staff at Raya’s Paradise can help you determine if our assisted living facilities would be a good match for you or your loved one.