What’s a senior home?

Learn what a senior home is, and the various types of senior home options that families can consider.

3 min read

As the population continues to age, many families are exploring housing options for their loved ones. A good senior home should provide all the essential facilities tailored to meet the diverse needs of aging adults, including support with daily activities. If you are looking for a senior home for yourself or a loved one, there are certain things you should know.

A senior home is a residential facility that is designed to provide housing and other support services for older adults who need assistance with daily activities. Senior homes may be categorized into various types, including independent living communities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, memory care units, residential care homes, and continuing care retirement communities.

What are the different types of senior homes?

There are various types of senior homes, with each catering to different needs and providing different levels of care.

Independent living community

Independent living is an ideal option for seniors who don’t require frequent health care but are seeking a community environment with extra conveniences and opportunities for social interactions. In such settings, seniors can maintain autonomy in their lives, but enjoy the benefits of a supportive community.

Residents benefit from various amenities, including fitness centers, group dining, and organized social activities. These communities often organize social and recreational activities for seniors, which help them enrich their social lives.

Skilled nursing home

Nursing care facilities are a good option for seniors with chronic health conditions that require 24/7 medical care. These facilities are staffed with skilled healthcare professionals who provide on-site care to residents. The health care professionals are tasked with monitoring the resident's response to treatments, ensuring residents take their medications as prescribed.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities strike a balance between independent living and skilled nursing homes, by allowing residents to maintain a level of independence while receiving personalized assistance with daily activities. Residents receive support with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, housekeeping, preparing meals, taking medications, etc.

Memory care

Memory care facilities provide a supportive environment for older adults with cognitive health issues like Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Residents benefit from memory care management, and they can receive the necessary help to manage memory disorders and communication challenges. These facilities have trained staff who offer specialized programs to ensure the well-being of their residents.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

These communities are designed for older adults who want to live in one location for the rest of their lives. Residents get access to various care options in a single community, including assisted living, independent living, and skilled nursing home care. Seniors can start living in the independent living section, and move to different care options as higher levels of care are needed.

Residential care homes

Residential care homes offer a more intimate home-like environment for seniors. Residents benefit from personalized care, assistance with daily activities, meal services, transportation, medication management, etc. Residential care homes cater to individuals who prefer a more personalized approach to care.

How much do senior homes cost?

The cost of living in a senior home varies depending on various factors including the type of senior facility, location, and the level of care provided. Seniors living in independent living communities can expect to pay a few thousand to several thousand dollars per month to cover expenses such as rent, utilities, meals, etc.

The cost of assisted living facilities can range from $2,000 to $6,000 per month, while the cost of skilled nursing facilities varies widely, and can often exceed $6,000 per month. Memory care units often cost more than nursing homes, with the monthly charges going up to $7,000 or more due to the need for specialized care.

On the other hand, continuing care retirement communities often charge higher entrance fees starting from tens of thousands, and they may have a tiered fee structure depending on the level of care needed.

Benefits of living in senior homes

Senior homes offer a range of benefits to older adults. Some of these benefits include:

Social interactions

Senior homes provide a ready community of seniors with varied interests and hobbies. Residents get an opportunity to engage in social and recreational activities, events, and outings, which promotes a sense of belonging. Social interactions help reduce feelings of isolation.

Assistance with daily activities

If you are unable to perform daily activities on your own, you can get assistance with daily activities when you retire in a senior home. Depending on the level of care you need, you can get assistance with activities such as bathing, dressing, meal services, and medication management. This allows seniors to maintain a level of independence while getting help with certain activities.

Safety in old age

Seniors are prone to safety hazards that can cause accidents and sometimes become fatal. Taking this into consideration, most senior homes have prioritized the safety and well-being of residents by integrating safety features in the living spaces. Some of these features include non-slip floors, handrails, wide hallways, senior-friendly lighting, and surveillance systems.

Medical care

If you have a chronic health condition, and you need access to 24/7 medical care, you will find certain senior homes beneficial. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities provide on-site healthcare services, and there are trained healthcare staff to ensure patients get access to medical care at all times. Residents also enjoy the convenience of nutritious meals, while taking into consideration their dietary needs.

Disadvantages of living in a senior home

Financial strain

Living in a senior home comes at a substantial cost, and it can drain you financially if you don’t have plenty of retirement savings. Most elderly people rely on Social Security and pension income, and may not afford the cost of residing in a senior home. According to Genworth, the average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home can go up to $260 per day, or $297 per day for a private room.

Loss of independence

Older adults are accustomed to living an independent life with a specific routine, and it can be difficult to adjust to the strict schedules in senior homes. Communal living arrangements and getting served a specific menu at specific times of the day can trigger a feeling of loss of control over their life.

Limited privacy

Senior homes house many older adults, and this means that residents get to share living spaces with their peers. These living arrangements can be less appealing to seniors who value their personal space.

Potential for neglect

You have likely heard or seen stories of seniors getting neglected or abused in senior homes. While most reputable senior homes provide good quality care, families should research facilities beforehand to avoid such risks.