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What Type of Senior Living Is Best for You?

Independent Living

Sometimes known as retirement communities, independent senior living communities are for seniors who can live on their own, want to enjoy a community of other seniors and don’t require outside assistance for daily activities. These communities typically require residents to be at least 65 years of age. Living arrangements can be apartment- or condo-style multi-room buildings, smaller houses or one-story living and can be single or multi-bedroom with living space and a kitchen. Seniors typically pay monthly rent, and there may be a requirement to eat at least one meal a day in a common dining area.

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Benefits

  • local transportation
  • General yard work
  • Social activities
  • Group meals

Cost

  • Monthly payment or rent
  • Not covered by Medicare

Assisted Living

Assisted living communities are for those who need some help with activities of daily living, or ADLs, such as hygiene, driving, shopping, medication management, personal and transitioning from bed to chair or toilet, but do not require medical care. These seniors can often live independently in their own residences (not a nursing home) and can participate in community social and other activities. Care is provided for what is needed – often including activities such as housekeeping, cooking and laundry – and is staffed by trained caregivers. Usually assisted living expenses are paid as a monthly rate, either out of pocket or covered by long-term care insurance.

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Benefits

  • Personal needs
  • Grocery shopping
  • Social activities
  • Local transportation and more

Cost

  • Monthly payment or rent
  • Covered by long term care insurance
  • Typically not covered by Medicare

Memory Care

Memory care living is for individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s or who are living with confusion but have no other medical issues. Typically memory care is a smaller care setting within an assisted living community and focuses on preventing wandering and ensuring a resident’s safety. If a person with dementia also needs medical care, a nursing home with memory care may be more appropriate. Memory care is typically paid on a monthly basis with long-term care insurance or out of pocket.

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Get Help With

  • Memory exercises
  • Daily activities
  • Social activities
  • Safe environment

Cost

  • Monthly payment or rent
  • Covered by long term care insurance
  • Not covered by Medicare

Nursing Home, Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are more commonly referred to as nursing homes and are appropriate for people who require 24-hour medical care or monitoring. Short-term – approximately three months – rehabilitative nursing home care is typically covered by Medicare given a doctor’s orders. Long-term care is usually covered by a combination of long-term care insurance, and in certain situations, Medicaid.

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Get Help With

  • Medications
  • Personal Hygiene
  • 24/7 care

Cost

  • Some care covered by Medicare
  • Some care covered by long term care insurance

How We Evaluate Senior Living Communities

Over 3,000 senior living communities surveyed their residents and families on various aspects of senior living and senior care that mattered most. They were asked to rate their experiences with the kindness of staff, variety of activities, quality of food, and so much more. Communities that had survey participation among residents and their families were included in the US News evaluation. Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care were evaluated separately. Communities that were highly rated in each of these senior living types were named Best Senior Living communities.

Learn more about how we evaluate Senior Living Communities

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