Overview of Types of Senior Communities Available
Age Restricted “Retirement Communities”
A senior community can be like any other neighborhood or community except restricted to people usually 55 or over, or 62 and over. Differences in minimum age is usually established when the original community entitlement and funding is obtained.
Those with a 55+ restriction require one resident to be 55+. Other residents must be over 18, but are permitted to be younger than 55. In a 62+ community all residents must meet the age requirement. HUD regulations used to require amenities, activities and services that cater to seniors to be provided or available. Although no longer
required by law, to be competitive and attractive to a retirement lifestyle, age restricted communities are continuing to offer amenities, activities and services that cater to residents. Retirement Communities are oriented toward an active lifestyle, or “younger thinking” seniors. They might offer golf, tennis, swimming pool and spa, exercise rooms and a variety of clubs and interest groups.
“Seniors Only” Apartments
Some older seniors sell their homes of many years and move to an apartment. This frees up equity that can then supplement income through interest or dividends earned through investment of the capital. The move also frees seniors from home maintenance and grounds-keeper chores. For others living in a large complex of all seniors also affords a greater sense of security than living in a private home.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) or communities offering Life Care are designed to offer active seniors an independent lifestyle and a private home from which to enjoy it, regardless of future medical needs. They may require buy-in, or an up-front annuity purchase followed by monthly payments covering services, amenities and needed medical. The buy-in may be refundable in part, or not at all. They provide the availability of multiple levels of care, without the uncertainty of wondering where you will live.
Congregate communities offer independent living in private separate apartments, and the opportunity to share activities of daily living with other residents as one chooses. They may offer rental or ownership units.
Assisted Living (or Residential Care For the Elderly/RCFE) offers help with non-medical aspects of daily activities in an atmosphere of separate, private living units. It can be likened to Congregate living for residents less able to function independently in all aspects of their daily lives. In some states licensing is required.
Board and Care, Residential Care or Foster Care
Board and Care is usually offered in what may appear as a converted home. It provides a homelike setting with supervision and care for 4-10 residents (Foster care, available in some states is limited to 2 residents).
Skilled Nursing Facilities
Skilled Nursing Facilities may be freestanding, or part of a seniors community offering any or all of the following:
- Assisted Living
- Continuum of Care
It may specialize in Short Term or acute nursing care, intermediate or long term skilled nursing care.
Early stage Alzheimer’s patients may be accommodated in a Congregate or Independent wing of a multi-level campus. Many Assisted Living Communities will accept and successfully house early stage residents. As the disease progresses patients develop argumentative behavior, “sundowning” and wandering habits. Generally the communities best equipped to deal effectively with this middle stage patient are Alzheimer’ Communities.
Senior Day Care
Senior Day care varies from “custodial care” with programs for stimulation and rehabilitation to day care providing medical care and procedures.