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What residential options are there for older adults?

For aging adults, the long-term care options available are so diverse that it sometimes you may think you need a dictionary just to interpret the differences between them all.
Here is a list of the five main categories of elder residential care options:
  • Home Care: Many aging adults decide to move in with their adult children. This option works well for some, as the grown child assumes a caregiver role. And while caring for a parent living in your home can be a full-time job, there are now services available so you can take time off once in a while. A number of nursing homes offer respite care, while adult day care services are available in some communities.
  • Board and Care: These homes, run by groups or agencies, are made up of aging adults living together in a single-family dwelling, providing a home-like atmosphere. Meals and housekeeping services are included, and staff is able to help a resident schedule a doctor's appointment or to remind the senior to take medication. While these homes are less expensive than nursing homes, Medicare or Medicaid may not cover their fees. In some states these facilities are classified as assisted living.
  • Assisted Living: These establishments may offer everything from a shared room to a private one-bedroom apartment where you can bring your own furnishings from home. Meals and light housekeeping and social activities are included. However, these residences do not provide constant supervision or nursing care and residents may need to leave if they are no longer capable of independent care.
  • Nursing homes: If an aging adult is in need of close supervision or 24-hour nursing care, this is a residential option. While nursing homes do provide long-term care, they may also offer short-term stays. Short-term patients may be recuperating from an illness or injury and need temporary care. Meals, housekeeping and social activities are all covered. Financial assistance may be available through Medicare or Medicaid.
  • Continuing Care Retirement Community: This residential arrangement encompasses all levels of housing as well as medical care. You may begin living in an apartment, later move into an assisted living section and finally transition to the community's nursing home. It is a setting that adjusts accordingly to a resident's decline in health. However, these residences are not inexpensive and require significant advance planning.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.