When it comes to finding the right senior center for your loved one, it can be a bit confusing. With so many types, you may have difficulty determining the differences between each one. However, as a caretaker or family member of a senior, you should learn the differences between senior living communities so you can make an informed decision.

Independent Living Communities

Also known as retirement centers, congregate care, or retirement villages, independent living communities provide a wide range of services for seniors. These communities primarily cater to independent seniors who require only minimal medical care. These centers offer fully equipped private apartment homes that range from studios to large two bedroom suites. Seniors residing in independent living communities have the opportunity to maintain a certain level of privacy while also enjoying benefits like fine dining services, activities designed to encourage socializing among residents, and scheduled outings.

Assisted Living

Much like independent living communities, assisted living centers enable seniors to live independently while enjoying the benefits of a readily available nursing staff. Although residents live in private apartments, the kitchen areas are often limited. Assisted living communities typically provide three meals a day in a central dining area so residents can stay nourished without the hassle of preparing their own meals. Typically, assisted living communities cater to seniors who need a little extra security in knowing there is someone there to help them navigate their daily routines. Some of the services provided by assisted living centers include medication assistance, meals and housekeeping, and help with daily activities.

Residential Care Homes

Many seniors prefer to live in a private home rather than at a center which is why residential care homes offer assisted care services to seniors who prefer a homier environment. However, multiple residents typically live together rather than on their own. Live-in caretakers assist with daily activities such as preparing meals, dressing, and bathing. It’s important to ask lots of questions when touring residential care homes because of the variation in nursing services and amenities offered.

Nursing Homes

Also known as long-term care facilities, nursing homes provide skilled nursing care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Seniors living in a nursing home traditionally require a high level of assistance with daily activities and a significant amount of medical care. Many residents have complex medical conditions that require care from a skilled nursing staff. However, many nursing homes also provide short-term care for those suffering from an injury that inhibits their ability to care for themselves. Seniors typically reside in shared rooms and eat meals in a central dining area. For those who can participate, scheduled activities occur on a regular basis.

Respite Care

Respite care facilities offers caregivers a break by allowing seniors to stay in a community on a short-term basis. Depending on their individual needs, seniors usually stay anywhere from a week to a month. Respite care can help seniors get familiar with assisted living centers to find out what they may have to offer them in the future. In fact, many residents find that they prefer the assisted living environment and decide to make the transition shortly after their temporary stay.

How to Choose the Right Senior Care Center

If you’re like most people, you take your role as a caretaker of an aging family member seriously. As part of your responsibility, you may be in charge of finding a senior care center that best suits the individual needs of your loved one. If so, there are a number of things to consider and a few questions to ask yourself before you begin the process:

  • Does the senior need help with daily activities?
  • Does she prefer an active lifestyle as opposed to the loneliness that often occurs at home?
  • Does she want to maintain a home or prefer to rely on someone else for cooking, cleaning, etc.?
  • Does she feel safe in her own home?
  • Is she able to drive or does she require transportation services?

Once you’ve answered a few basic questions, the next step is to begin touring different facilities. Make sure you check any provided references and ask lots of questions about the level of care and overall happiness and well-being of the residents of a home.

Once you find the appropriate answers to questions regarding your loved one’s health and ability to care for himself, it may be a good idea to begin discussing end-of-life arrangements. Although it can be an emotional process for many people, it’s better to plan ahead and have everything taken care of so that when that time comes, you can focus on remembering his life.

Although it’s never easy to acknowledge that you have aging parents, Neptune Society preplanning cremation services can help you arrange and prepay for everything your loved one deserves upon his passing. In fact, for those whose parents are nearing that time, planning is often a therapeutic part of the grieving process.


Published | Category: Cremation Planning for Caregivers.

M.P. Chandler is a freelance writer, photographer and painter with many years of experience helping individuals and businesses attract clients using art, photography and engaging written content. She specializes in writing about research topics that include health, business, self-improvement, relationships and parenting. Her passion for helping others by using her skills and expertise is what drives M.P. Chandler to continue growing as a freelance writer, artist and entrepreneur.