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Choosing a Senior Living Community

Deciding whether to move into an independent living, assisted living or memory care community can be a difficult choice. However, if you’re familiar with what makes each community different, you’ll be able to settle into the perfect home for your needs.

While doing research online may be helpful as you first explore your options, visiting a community in person will give you the most comprehensive look into living there.


Are you ready to start living a lifestyle with fewer responsibilities? Then you’ll love independent living. While some people may enjoy everyday tasks such as cooking, independent living gives you more choices, so you can spend your time doing the things that make you happy.

Independent living means just that. You can manage your day with minimal to no assistance with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, medication administration, and mobility.

Independent living services and amenities

Many communities offer convenient on-site amenities, including:

  • Swimming pools
  • Fitness centers
  • Beauty and barber shops
  • Libraries
  • Bars and bistros
  • Billiard rooms
  • Yoga studios
  • Art studios
  • Walking paths

The best communities have a full schedule of recreational, cultural, and learning activities and events.


If you’re a senior who would like greater assistance with the activities of daily living, then assisted living may be right for you.

It’s a good choice if you need a helping hand in order to maintain your independence. This includes assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation, or remembering to take medication. Here, there are also plenty of opportunities and spaces to socialize on a regular basis. These communities generally have frequent, scheduled activities on- and off-site that build bonds between residents and foster healthy, engaged lives.

Assisted living communities offer all the same services as independent living, including housekeeping and on-site maintenance and dining and laundry services. However, there are some distinctions that make assisted living unique, including 24-hour care, three prepared meals a day, and tailored care plans.

Apartments are modified throughout to ease mobility. You’ll notice wider doorways, walk-in showers or tubs, and safety bars that ensure convenience, safety, and comfort.

Memory Care

Memory care communities specialize in caring for older adults who have received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. In a continuing care community, those who have progressive memory impairment can easily make the transition from independent living or assisted living to memory care. Residents can increase their level of care while eliminating the anxiety and confusion that may come from moving to a brand-new location.

Alongside all the services and amenities provided by independent and assisted living communities, memory care communities also provide memory-specific services, amenities, and activities. Round-the-clock supervision and assistance with daily tasks are provided by highly trained staff. Days are busy with activities designed to engage the mind and maintain skills and independence. Dining, transportation inside and outside the community, medication administration, and other routine tasks are assisted with and closely monitored.

In general, memory care residences are located in separate wings or floors of a community with additional security. Since memory care residents are more likely to wander, their living areas are designed in a pleasant and easy-to-navigate way with a higher level of security to ensure their safety.


If you or your loved one is in need of post-surgery or post-hospital care that addresses medical recovery needs on a daily basis, rehabilitation and extended stay offers an ideal living situation. While some individuals may be directly referred for rehabilitation services from an acute care hospital, others in search of the same services and amenities for as long as they need it can use extended stay programs.

Rehabilitation and extended stay services and amenities

Similar to assisted living and memory care communities, rehabilitation and extended stay communities enrich their residents’ lives while maintaining a focus on recovery and overall wellness. These communities provide 24-hour nurse supervision, meals, activities, wellness programming, and health management support to post-surgery and post-hospital residents. In collaboration with the patients’ physicians, an individual care plan is developed to ensure optimal health. In addition, many rehabilitation and extended stay communities have therapy gyms.

If you’re still unsure which type of community is best for you or your loved one, check out this handy chart.