Nursing Home, Assisted Living, or Independent Living?

How to Compare Senior Living Options
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The first step to finding the best senior housing for your loved one is to understand what type of care facility is the best fit. There are six main types of residential elder care options:

Independent living facilities are ofen the best senior housing options for active adults who want built-in community without giving up their privacy. Most feature studio or multi-bedroom apartments with kitchens so residents can stay independent as long as possible.

Continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, are best for those seeking a continuum of care from independent living to skilled nursing, all in one location. CCRCs generally have studio or multi-bedroom apartments for their most independent residents and private or shared rooms for residents who need more care.

Assisted living facilities are best for for those who need some care and supervision but who don't need skilled nursing care. Most assisted living residents live in private or semi-private rooms within a complex.

Memory care communities are facilities designed specifically for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia or serious cognitive impairments. Also known as dementia care, memory care communities are often housed in one part of an existing assisted living community or skilled nursing facility. These communities are best for those with severe dementia or cognitive impairment who are no longer able to live independently.

Board and care facilities, also known as care homes, are best for those who can't live independently due to physical or mental disabilities but who don't require fulltime skilled nursing care. They feature private or semi-private rooms in a complex (often a large home) that usually provides communal dining.

Skilled nursing facilities, also called nursing homes, are residential care facilities that are best for those with illnesses or mental conditions requiring fulltime monitoring and medical care. Most skilled nursing residents live in semi-private rooms, and meals are generally provided.

RELATED: Find Assisted Living Near You

Want more information? Compare amenities, services, and payment information for each type of residential care facility using the chart below. Some amenities and services may vary from state to state.

Types of care: Independent Living CCRCs Assisted Living Board & Care Skilled Nursing
Daily personal care -
Medication management - -
Memory and Alzheimer's care - varies varies varies varies
Therapy (Physical, occupational, etc.) - - varies
Skilled nursing care - - -
Hospice care - - - varies vaires
Social activities -
Transportation - -
Annual cost $12,000 - $42,000 $6,000 - $48,000 (not including move-in fee) $28,800 - $66,000 $14,400 - $36,000 $86,000 - $90,000
Private pay
Medicaid - - limited -
Medicare - - - - limited
Supplemental Security Income - - - -
Veterans aid - -
Long-term care insurance - varies