Currently, 16.9% of the U.S population are aged 65 years and over, with the Population Reference Bureau projecting that there will be an estimated 100 million Americans aged 65 and over by 2060.

Furthermore, an estimated one in three of these senior citizens will become physically or cognitively impaired at some point in their lifetime, with many needing care to carry out their daily chores.

Of course, the thought of having to transition an elderly parent or relative into a senior living community is not one that anyone welcomes with open arms. However, there comes a time when it becomes a necessity rather than an option.

Therefore, it is better to be prepared and knowledgeable about your loved one’s senior living options, so that when the time does come, you can act as quickly and as compassionately as possible.

Independent living

Independent living refers to any housing arrangement that is designed specifically for seniors, usually those aged 55 years and over, who may need help with certain elements of their lives. However, unlike other senior living communities, this option means that they are able to retain their independence and have the ability to socialize with other people of their age.

Other names for independent living communities include:

  • Retirement communities
  • Retirement homes
  • Senior housing
  • Active adult communities

If your elderly relative chooses independent living, then they get the opportunity to connect with other members in the senior communities and have access to a wide range of amenities, activities, and services.

Assisted living

Assisted living is designed for older people who need a little more help in regard to their everyday activities, including cooking, taking their medication, and their hygiene routine.

Assisted living communities also cater for people with memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s and mobility issues that can be caused by old age as well as chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.

This type of senior care is suited to individuals who can no longer care for themselves and need ongoing support and help on a daily basis.

In an assisted living community, you can expect your loved one to be able to enjoy on-site activities and events that are all-inclusive but not compulsory.

Memory care

As the name suggests, a memory care facility is specifically designed for those who are suffering with progressive memory impairment. Although people with these conditions are also able to live in assisted living communities, a memory care facility will be better able to support and treat these individuals and their specific needs.

You can expect a memory care facility to have staff that are trained to care for people with dementia as well as enhanced security measures to ensure that their residents do not wander off and put themselves at risk.

In terms of activities, your elderly relative can look forward to carefully planned options that are designed to provide comfort and a sense of routine, exactly what someone who suffers with progressive memory impairment needs.

It is never an easy decision putting a loved one into a senior living community, but there are several steps that you can take to ensure you choose the right one for your elderly relative. These include:

  • Carrying out extensive research on your preferred senior communities
  • Visiting your preferred communities to get a feel of each place
  • Talking to other residents, where possible, for their feedback
  • Talking to your loved one, where possible, for their opinion on their future living arrangements