Senior Living Options: An Overview

Sage Aging Podcast Episode 61

Decoding Senior Living Options

When it’s time to make the move from home to a senior living community, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the many senior living options. What type of community is best for your situation? What should you look for? And what questions should you ask? If you or a loved one, are considering making a move, this is the podcast episode for you. Click the player above to listen.

My Guest For This Episode

My guest for this episode of Sage Aging is Michael Gall. Michael is the Executive Director of Osprey Manor, Independent Living in Lakeland, FL. Well-versed in senior living options, Michael shared a wealth of information in an easy-to-understand way. This episode is definitely one we will refer back to often!

What We Covered

Senior Living Defined

Senior living encompasses a range of lifestyle and care options for older adults that accommodate their unique needs. Options can be categorized beginning with 55 plus apartment buildings with no amenities, to skilled nursing communities providing complete care. We discussed the following options:

  • 55+ Communities: Also known as Active Adult Communities. Ideal for older adults seeking a carefree retirement or semiretirement lifestyle. Can be apartment buildings or deed restricted neighborhoods. Typically no care services are offered.
  • Independent Living Communities: Independent Living Residences are designed to make things easier and more convenient. Many Independent Living Residences offer dining plans, services, and optional amenities.
  • Assisted Living Communities (including Memory Care): Bridges the gap between independent living and nursing home care. Assisted living residences can offer different levels of assistance, from minimal to comprehensive. The goal of assisted living is to provide a safe environment in which to live as independently as possible. Assistance with activities of daily living are provided.
  • Nursing/Skilled Nursing Care: Provides 24-hour care. Nursing homes provide skilled nursing care, personal care, custodial care, and rehabilitative care to persons who are ill, recuperating after surgery, or physically weak. Some may also offer respite care to give relief to a family caregiver.
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs): also known as Life Plan Communities. This type of retirement living is designed on a tiered approach where healthy residents initially live independently in single-family homes, apartments, or condominiums. When assistance with everyday activities becomes necessary, they move into assisted living or skilled nursing care within the same community.

What to Look For When Visiting a Community

When looking at senior living communities, pay attention to the details. Does the personality of the community appeal to you? Is the community well maintained? For assisted living and nursing homes, does the community have a pleasing smell, and do residents seem engaged and happy with staff? There is so much to consider! Use these helpful worksheets as you explore communities:

Choosing the right senior living option for yourself or a loved one can be overwhelming, but now you are armed with good information and tools to help you along the way. Do you have questions? Reach out and let us know!

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Liz Craven
Author: Liz Craven

Liz Craven, along with her husband Wes, owns Pro-Ad Media, publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide, serving the local community for over 29 years. Liz lives in Lakeland and is very active in the local community, specifically in the area of aging. Liz serves on a number of local boards and committees including the Lakeland Vision and Age Friendly Lakeland.