Discover what senior living looks like today
As the baby boomer generation enters its golden years, we're seeing a rethinking of the aging experience at every turn. Older adults today are redefining fitness, productivity and purpose in advanced age, and that includes how we choose to live.
In fact, there is an increasing demand for comfortable, engaging, and purposeful living options that cater to the unique needs of today's seniors. While senior communities may be a common concept, many seniors and their family members aren't familiar with the different types of housing options for older adults, so research can feel like a daunting task. So whether you're looking for yourself, an aging parent, or a loved one, here's everything you need to know:
The term “senior living community” is really an umbrella term used to describe several different types of housing for seniors that are 55 years or older. These residential facilities are built to accommodate several types of lifestyles and medical needs. Here's a quick list of the most common types of senior living:
A final note: many facilities offer multiple care types, the most common being those that offer both assisted and independent living, or those that offer assisted living and memory care. This allows residents to age in place as care needs change over time.
Senior living communities offer a range of benefits for the elderly, promoting their well-being and providing support as they age. Whether you're looking at independent living or a nursing home, there are some common benefits:
Overall, senior living communities provide an enriching and supportive environment for seniors to enjoy their retirement, maintain their independence, and enhance their quality of life.
In a word? Awesome. The sense of community is one of the most important factors that impacts residents' overall well-being and happiness. In general, most communities are intentionally designed to foster social interaction and create a supportive, close-knit environment, and they have dedicated staff whose role is to plan and coordinate fun, interesting and stimulating events.
Residents have ample opportunities to engage with friends through organized activities, clubs, and events tailored to accommodate diverse interests and promote camaraderie. This kind of environment encourages forming meaningful friendships, which also serve as an incredible support system for residents navigating their aging experience. In general, the community in a senior living facility often ends up feeling like a second family.
There is also often a council of residents whose role is to advocate, guide and direct the community leadership on ways to improve the residential experience. Typically this council will also include the appointment of a long term care ombudsman, whose role is to advocate for the well-being of residents in the facility. The ombudsman is typically a trained professional appointed at the state level to protect resident rights.
The staff at senior living communities are dedicated to creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere that feels like home, ensuring residents have the care, assistance, advice and encouragement they need to thrive. Overall, the sense of community in a senior living setting is invaluable in helping seniors enjoy an enriching and fulfilling lifestyle.
The short answer is: it depends. The cost of senior living in most states can vary from $1500 in a personal care or nursing home to $8000 or even $15,000 a month in a higher-end community which includes service for many care types. It all depends on a few key factors:
Importance of understanding costs: Families and caregivers should thoroughly review and comprehend the cost breakdown to ensure it aligns with their budget and care needs.
The financial commitment required to move to an established community can seen daunting, but with careful research and planning, there are options to support your budget and lessen the financial and legal burden. Understanding the available resources and payment methods can make the transition to a senior living community more manageable for families. Here are a few options on how to pay for senior living:
If private pay options are limited, know that some states offer income-based financial aid programs to help cover the cost of senior living for individuals who qualify. These programs can include state-funded home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers, which provide financial assistance for eligible seniors to receive support with daily living tasks, healthcare, and other services in assisted living facilities or other community-based settings. Here are a few other state and federal supports for senior living:
Now that you understand the senior living landscape, you may be wondering how to find the right senior living solution for yourself or a loved one. While every family will approach this in a slightly different way depending on their priorities, there is a general blueprint for the discovery and decision process:
Senior living communities offer a range of options to cater to the diverse needs and preferences of older adults, providing a supportive and nurturing environment to enhance their quality of life. From independent living to memory care, each community type is tailored to offer personalized care, social engagement, and access to various amenities. As senior living costs are determined by factors such as care level, location, and amenities, it's crucial for families to understand the payment methods and financial aid resources available. Additionally, as a sense of community plays a vital role in residents' well-being, these communities intentionally foster social interaction and create a close-knit atmosphere where residents and staff form meaningful relationships. Navigating the world of senior living can be overwhelming, but being equipped with the right information enables families to make informed decisions in choosing the best community for their loved ones.
The term “senior housing” is a broad term that can refer to assisted living, independent living, senior apartments, memory care, SNFs, and low-income housing for seniors.
The cost of apartment living can be much less expensive than other options. Apartments don’t require as much upkeep as a house nor do you have to purchase anything above and beyond what you need. They also offer maintenance and amenities for one standard fee and most handicap accessible apartments don’t charge any additional fees.
Independent living tends to cost less than assisted living, but is usually not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Assisted living requires a level of care that can not be found in independent living. This tends to make assisted living more expensive.
Medicare and Medicaid can be options for a stay in a skilled nursing facility. That is the only senior living option that you can be assured will work those government programs. Once you start exploring independent living or assisted living, private pay becomes the way to pay. If you’re a Veteran or the spouse of a Veteran, don’t forget to explore all of the Veteran’s Benefits available for senior living.
Paying for senior assisted living is usually handled through private pay. There are circumstances when a community might have a Medicare or Medicaid option, but this is few and far between. Long-term care insurance is a great investment early in life to help cover assisted living costs later in life. Finally, Veteran’s can often get assistance from the government if they are qualified.
Senior living referral agents, sometimes also called elder care referral agents or senior placement agents (we call them Seniorly Partner Agents), can be a company with several employees or just one senior living expert. In either case, they have a wealth of valuable information about all the various senior housing options, care services, and types of senior living available to you and your loved ones in the local area you are searching.
Arthur Bretschneider is CEO and Co-Founder of Seniorly. As a third generation leader in the senior living industry, Arthur brings both deep compassion and a wealth of practical experience to his work at Seniorly. Arthur holds an MBA from Haas School of Business and has been featured in the New York Times and Forbes Magazine as a thought leader in the senior living space. Arthur is a passionate and vocal advocate for improving the lives of older adults through community, and believes strongly that structured senior living environments can positively impact the aging experience.
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