Is Senior Living the Same as Assisted Living?

Senior living is not the same as assisted living. Senior living communities provide housing for older adults who care for themselves independently. They typically accept residents aged 55 and older. Assisted living facilities provide residential care for seniors who need assistance with dressing, preparing meals and other activities of daily living (ADLs).

What Are the Common Types of Senior Living Communities?

Common types of senior living communities include:

  • Continuing care retirement communities offer a wide range of services, including independent living and memory care, allowing residents to age in place
  • Independent living communities provide opportunities for active adults to socialize and build strong connections with others in their age group
  • Luxury senior living communities feature all-inclusive, resort-style living with amenities such as pools, fitness centers and on-site restaurants
  • 55+ communities have neighborhoods of single-family homes or condos that accept residents aged 55 and older
  • Senior apartment buildings offer affordable rentals for adults aged 55 and older, often with income restrictions

How Do You Choose Between Assisted Living and Senior Living?

Choose between assisted living and senior living by evaluating the level of help you need with everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming and preparing meals. If you have the ability to handle most tasks independently, assisted living provides more care than necessary. In this case, senior living would be more appropriate. Independent senior living typically costs less than assisted living because it doesn’t include home care services.

If you often need help with daily activities or have safety concerns about living alone, consider moving to an assisted living facility. In this setting, you’ll have professional assistance available when needed, including overnight for emergencies. If you need this type of help in an independent living community, you must hire an outside home care agency.

At What Age Do Seniors Typically Move to Assisted Living?

Seniors typically move into assisted living at age 85 or older if they choose this type of care. About half of assisted living residents fall into this age group, according to data from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living. Another 31% of residents belong to the 75 to 84 age group. About 13% of assisted living residents move in between ages 65 and 74, and the remaining 6% are younger than 65.