Understanding Senior Living

With all of the options available for today’s seniors, you and your family are left with many decisions to make – and possibly many  unanswered questions. This guide can help you to learn some of the terminology used across the senior living industry.

What is Retirement Living?

A retired person may live in his/her home independently for all or much of their retirement life. Or they may choose to join a retirement community of adults 55 years old and up who live and care for themselves independently in their own home, much like a gated or closed residential community. The individual housing may be part of a mobile park, apartment building, a village of cottages, or residential houses, which may or may not include grounds keeping and/or a social center.

What is Independent Living (IL)?

Independent Living is for elderly people living rather independently in a community, but typically are unable to maintain a single residential dwelling and may receive in-home care services. A defined set of daily activities an individual may experience difficulty completing independently are referred to as Independent Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s), which include shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, medication management, telephoning, transportation, and handling finances. Observing difficulties with these activities alert others when transition to an independent living community may be necessary.   These communities may offer one or more of these service amenities.

What is Independent Living (IL)?

Independent Living is for elderly people living rather independently in a community, but typically are unable to maintain a single residential dwelling and may receive in-home care services. A defined set of daily activities an individual may experience difficulty completing independently are referred to as Independent Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s), which include shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, medication management, telephoning, transportation, and handling finances. Observing difficulties with these activities alert others when transition to an independent living community may be necessary.   These communities may offer one or more of these service amenities.

What is Assisted Living (AL)?

Assisted Living is a long-term care option at a facility or private home that provides 24-hour supervision and care defined as needing assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) such as, meals/eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, transferring mobility, walking, as well as the list of IADL’s, as defined in Independent Living. Assisted living evolved to bridge the gap between independent living and skilled nursing. These individuals generally function independently and do not require constant care; and they may experience some memory loss and forgetfulness. These facilities may also provide short-term respite and adult day care.

What is Memory Care (MC)?

Memory Care is a long-term care facility that provides 24-hour close supervision and care assistance to individuals with declining memory loss and cognitive issues, but do not require the benefits of a Skilled Nursing Facility. These individuals are housed in a secured environment for their own safety, as many are exit seekers and wonderers, and are more inclined to exhibit heightened sensitivity to their surroundings and become easily agitated.

What is Memory Care (MC)?

Memory Care is a long-term care facility that provides 24-hour close supervision and care assistance to individuals with declining memory loss and cognitive issues, but do not require the benefits of a Skilled Nursing Facility. These individuals are housed in a secured environment for their own safety, as many are exit seekers and wonderers, and are more inclined to exhibit heightened sensitivity to their surroundings and become easily agitated.

What is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

(SNF, referred to as “sniff”)

A SNF can be a short or long-term care facility that provides 24-hour regular medical and full nursing care service, similar to a hospital setting. Individuals in need of a SNF are typically very frail and unable to care for themselves. These facilities may also provide short-term rehabilitation, physical therapy, wound care, and other specialized care services.