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Whats the Difference?

By: Commonwealth Senior Living / 13 Mar 2024
Whats the Difference?

Before the 1980s, seniors who were unable to safely live in their own homes or with family had limited options for care. Since then, senior living has transformed, offering vibrant lifestyles and comprehensive care choices ranging from maintenance-free Independent Living, supportive assisted living, and specialized Memory Care. When families explore senior living options, it's important to understand the difference between these levels of care and how they differ from nursing homes. This empowers them to make well-informed decisions that align with their needs and preferences.  

Only about 1% of the U.S. population is educated about senior living due to experiencing it firsthand as a family or through working in the industry. Outside of that 1%, when individuals hear the term "senior living," they may lump all the options into the same category based on their experience. 

So, what sets Commonwealth Senior Living apart from these options?

Independent Living

This is the perfect lifestyle choice for those who want to maintain their independence and freedom but don't want the worries and responsibilities of home ownership. Independent living offers comfort, convenience, amenities, and opportunities to be active, engaged, and enjoy a healthy social life. According to Where You Live Matters, living independently means having services and amenities that make life easier and more convenient. At Commonwealth Senior Living, this means restaurant-style farm-to-table dining options, weekly housekeeping, maintenance-free living, and engaging resident programs and activities. 

Assisted Living

Approximately 20% of adults over 85 years old require assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and managing medications. Our assisted living residents enjoy peace of mind with a care team of compassionate and highly trained associates offering personalized support that upholds their dignity and respect. Residents not only receive assistance with their daily tasks but also benefit from engaging programs and activities, nutritious meals tailored to their dietary needs, and other support services when they need them. By providing a warm and welcoming environment, our assisted living neighborhoods empower seniors to maintain an active and fulfilling lifestyle, while fostering overall well-being and happiness.

Memory Care

Memory Care offers round-the-clock support and engagement for residents living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. These neighborhoods prioritize safety and security, providing a secure environment. Many communities will also offer family support to help your family navigate this transition. These communities are intentionally designed to offer the calm familiarity of routine schedules and consistent staffing with engaging programs and activities. Not all communities or their programs are the same, so doing online research and visiting the nearby communities in person is an important step in finding the right fit for you. Just like no two communities are the same, no two residents are at the same place in their journey and their needs, abilities, and preferences are unique as well. Commonwealth Senior Living provides person-centered care to ensure each resident enjoys the most appropriate support possible. 

Skilled Nursing Facilities/Nursing Homes

Skilled Nursing Facilities are designed for seniors who are no longer able to care for themselves independently, are not mobile without assistance, require around-the-clock clinical care and medical monitoring due to chronic or deteriorating physical and health conditions, or require extensive rehabilitation following an injury or major surgery. In this clinical setting, residents receive assistance with all activities of daily living, but primarily need ongoing palliative care. While some recreational activities are available, the main emphasis is on providing skilled care, ensuring safety, and promoting comfort. Due to the highly skilled care and physician oversight required at Skilled Nursing Facilities, this is the most expensive level of residential care available for seniors. 

55+ Communities

55+ Communities, simply put, are planned communities exclusively designed for people 55 years or older. These communities boast a prime location near hospitals, restaurants, and local attractions, ensuring convenience and accessibility for the residents. The age restriction also cultivates a sense of community and shared experience among peers. Insurance, utilities, maintenance, and amenities like exercise facilities and walking trails are included in a single fee. There are also different categories within 55+ communities such as buying or renting a house or apartment within the community with their prices fluctuating accordingly. To pay for these communities, Medicare and Medicaid are not accepted. Like Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care, 55+ communities are paid for with personal finances and benefits you qualify for like Veterans Aid & Attendance. 

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) 

CCRC's offer independent living along with amenities, maintenance, and access to a higher level of care if your needs change. There are several living options available including condos, cottages, duplexes, and studios. While you may receive some tax benefits, there are substantial entry and monthly fees. Additionally, the contracts associated with CCRCs can be complex and often require guidance from your financial advisor. Individuals must meet the requirements, both physically and cognitively, to live there and do not own their home, but rather pay to live in the community while using the amenities and receiving care. 

Today, seniors are presented with more options than ever before. Understanding the differences between each of these is the next step in deciding which option is right for you or your loved one. For more guidance and support in this process, click the button below to take a free, anonymous assessment that will recommend options that could help you in your current situation. 

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Our community leaders are just a phone call away. With their expertise and guidance, they can help you navigate the process with ease and ensure you make the best choice for your loved one's needs.

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