If you or a loved one has decided staying in the home is not the most practical choice for the future then a retirement community could be a viable alternative. However, there are a number of different types of communities from which to choose and the different types of senior homes do not all offer the same levels of care.

Related: Senior Living: Is it Really “Cheaper” to Stay at Home?

Senior Home Options

Aside from the more obvious characteristics- such as size of the community, amenities, culture, and location- one of the most important factors to consider when exploring retirement communities and senior homes is which phase(s) along the continuum of care the community is equipped to serve. The term “continuum of care” refers to the increasing intensity of healthcare services that may be required as a person ages; beginning with independent living and progressing through personal care or assisted living and then to around-the-clock skilled nursing care.

Almost all 55+ retirement communities and senior homes– including Active Adult Living, Independent Living, Senior Apartments, and Senior Co-Ops– serve those who are either able to live completely independently or who require only limited assisted living services. Yet, if a more advanced level of care is required the resident would need to move from the senior home to an off-site assisted living or skilled nursing facility.

A continuing care retirement community– often referred to as a life plan community or CCRC– is unique from other types of retirement communities in the sense that is provides services spanning the entire continuum of care. CCRCs cater to active retirees who are able to live independently today, but who seek the peace of mind that comes with living in a community that can provide necessary health care services as neccary; thus reducing potential stress and hardship for the resident and their family members later.

Keen in mind that all CCRCs are not created alike and many require a significant financial commitement in exchange for lifetime access to health care services. Related: Explanation of CCRC Contract Types. Choosing the right community is an important decision. If you or a loved one is considering a move to a senior home or continuing care retirement community be sure to inquire about the type of residency contract(s) offered, financial stability of the community, quality of care, and experience of the management team.

For community-specific profile reports on CCRCs visit www.mylifesite.net.

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