Senior Living Communities

4 Key Differences between Assisted and Senior Living Communities

As the Baby Boomer generation reaches its senior years, there are more and more seniors making lifestyle changes based on their advancing age. Every individual deals with a unique set of needs. These needs can range from simple loneliness after the loss of a spouse to chronic medical conditions that require frequent medical attention. These needs must be considered when making the decision about what kind of community you choose to move into. The good news is that thanks in part to the size of the Baby Boomer generation, there are lots of options available for retired individuals and couples to consider. They range from very restrictive to not restrictive at all.

If you are considering new housing options for an aging loved one or for yourself, you may be confused by the options that have been made available to you. Certainly, you can receive a wider variety of services by choosing a living community of some kind that caters to senior citizens. You will be assured neighbors who are close to your age as well. However, if you are wondering whether you need an assisted living community or a senior living community, there are a few key points you should keep in mind. These differentiating factors will help make your decision much easier. Evaluating your needs against the services offered by each option, you will be able to come to a conclusion that best suits your personal needs.

  1. The degree of available medical care: While sufficient medical care is generally available in or near most senior living communities, it is assumed that residents have their own doctors and medical professionals. An assisted living facility will have trained medical staff on the premises, employed by the facility. Residents may have doctors outside of the community as well, but these staff members are available around the clock in case of medical emergency. This makes it possible to be seen in your home when necessary, and cuts down on emergency room visits. In addition, records are kept on the residents in assisted living so that the staff is better able to keep an eye on the health and wellbeing of each person living there. Even hospice care is offered as part of the services available in many assisted living communities.
  2. Your method of payment: Seniors seeking residence in a senior living community are looking to purchase or rent a home, condo, or apartment. This will be their home, as it would be anywhere else and at any other time in their lives. On the other hand, assisted living offers medical care, physical therapy, nutrition counseling, and so on, so they are a medical facility as well as a living community. Medications are prescribed and dispensed on site. Therefore, part or all of the expense of living there is often paid by private insurance or Medicare. These monies help cover the professional attention afforded to assisted living residents, including ’round the clock staff that keeps tabs on how often a resident leaves their apartment so they can make sure no one has fallen, become ill, or passed away.
  3. Available transportation services: Both assisted living and senior living communities have activity planners, and with that come outings to museums, shopping malls, golf courses, and the list goes on. Residents living in a senior living community might pay a fee that covers transportation or might drive to the location themselves, meeting others there. Transportation services may be in the form of a bus or van that belongs to the community, but more often, it will be contracted from a transportation company. Assisted living communities offer many of these activities and outings as occupational therapy or as encouragement to exercise and take part in healthy outside activities. The costs are often covered in the monthly rent paid to live there, and transportation is provided by drivers employed by the facility. Assisted living communities are more likely to provide regular transportation to often-visited destinations, like the local grocery store or area churches.
  4. Level of supervision: There is peace of mind that comes with living in a senior living community. Your neighbors know you and take a vested interest in your wellbeing. If you do not come out for a day or two, it will send up red flags and someone will check on you. If you need help or medical attention, you have neighbors and sometimes staff you can ask for help. Assisted living communities take that a step further. You are surrounded by neighbors in a senior living community, but also by staff whose job it is to keep track of the health and needs of the residents there. It is understood that when you move into an assisted living community, you will be under close supervision while still maintaining your independence.