Senior Living Terms
55+ Communities: These are adult communities of patio homes or condos purchased outright for those 55 and older. No children are typically permitted. The homes are maintenance-free, at least the exterior, and often offer social outlets.
Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC): An aging-in-place option, this campus encompasses independent living, assisted living (including memory care), skilled nursing and hospice. With this scope of services, the campuses are large (200+ residents). New residents must qualify both financially and physically.
Independent Living (IL): Here are adult communities of suites or patio homes (free-standing or adjoining, some with garages) available for rent or purchase through a buy-in. A range of activities and amenities are offered, often through a central Clubhouse. You choose your own level of participation. Some structure their fees to include transportation, life enrichment, meals and limited in-home care.
Assisted Living (AL): Within these communities, residents can still maintain their independence in some areas, while requiring help with other activities of daily living. Different care levels are offered, customized to individual needs. They commonly offer a range of amenities, together with wellness programs. A licensed nurse is available and a 24-hour care staff. These communities can be private pay only or supplemented by state programs.
Memory Care (MC): Today 5.4 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, up 47% from 2000, one in eight seniors. In response, many AL communities offer secured environments to safeguard those with memory impairment (Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia). A variety of therapeutic approaches to care are offered as well as recreational and purposeful activities.
Respite Care: Respite is defined as a short-term stay in an Assisted Living community after hospitalization or when the in-home caregiver is unable to serve for a time. Some require a minimum length of stay. Respite Care is often a great way to try out a community before officially moving in.
Day Program: Offered in senior centers, churches and Assisted Living facilities, seniors join into community life for a half or full day while the in-home caregiver is at work or otherwise occupied. Some Day Programs are drop in; others require reservations.
Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF): An offering based on the medical model for those needing 24-hour nursing care. Stays here could be short-term (recuperative after a hospital stay) or long-term for those needing constant and intensive care.
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Senior Living Communities often speak in terms of ADLs as a means of assessing an individual’s needed level of care.
- Personal hygiene and grooming
- Dressing and undressing
- Feeding oneself
- Transferring (from bed to wheelchair, etc.)
- Bowel and bladder management
- Ambulation (walking without assistive device)
Instrumental ADLs (for living independently)
- Taking medication as prescribed
- Managing money
- Shopping for groceries or clothes
- Telephone use
- Technology use
- Arranging for own transportation