Well-designed Independent Living communities offer a rich variety of lifestyle options for older adults who generally require little assistance with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, preparing meals). Dining options, greater security and freedom from home maintenance are the mainstays of these congregate senior communities, but just as important to the creation of an enhanced sense of resident well-being are a wide variety of planned social, educational and recreational programs, as well as the daily opportunities for socialization with peers.
Independent Living housing ranges from Villas or Casitas to studio apartments and these residences are often situated on campuses of significant size with wellness and fitness centers, pools and spas, beauty salons and barber shops, a variety of dining venues, computer and meeting centers, libraries, guest accommodations and outdoor amenities such as gardens and nature trails as well as transportation services.
Independent Living is most often paid for with private funds. Some Independent Living communities require an entrance fee and may or may not involve condominium ownership. Some communities are rental. Supplemental health services may be paid for with long-term care insurance, if the policy allows. Supplemental private insurance will not pay for Independent Living.
Assisted Living, sometimes called Personal Care, is a type of care that supports individuals with their basic Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), including bathing, dressing, preparing meals, and, in some cases, medication assistance or reminders. Residents of Assisted Living communities, whether stand-alone or part of a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), benefit from the community’s planned social, educational and recreational programs, as well as the daily opportunities for socialization with peers. Three daily meals are generally provided.
Assisted Living housing tends to be more intimate, offering an enhanced home-like atmosphere. Apartments are generally studio or one-bedroom, with kitchenettes. Safety features such as call systems and handrails are standard.
Assisted Living can be paid for from private funds or with a mixture of private funds and long-term care insurance. Supplemental private insurance will not pay for Assisted Living.
Memory Care is designed to support the specific needs of residents with Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss and dementia. Many Memory Care centers develop innovative educational and social programs that engage residents in the daily activities that slow memory loss and provide continuity through structured support. Some Memory Care centers have distinct locations for programs that address the wide range of resident memory loss. Although Memory Care centers should be secure in order to prevent residents from wandering, part of the secured area may be a landscaped courtyard or garden so that residents have access to the outdoors.
Private funds supplemented by long-term care insurance policies is the most common way to pay for Memory Care, but Medicare and private supplemental insurance may pay for the short-term skilled nursing and rehab care that may be required at times.