Just a generation ago, the phrase “retirement facility” meant drab, institutional living for frail seniors.
However, the retirement facilities of today have become much more vibrant, inviting and varied in terms of services than ever before.
Today’s seniors have their choice of retirement facility with the option of four main levels of care:
Independent living – offering the most minimal level of care, an independent living retirement facility provides residential housing, some meals, and a number of hotel-style amenities and services such as swimming pools, clubhouses, housekeeping and transportation.
Assisted living – designed for seniors who need help with activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming and eating, an assisted living retirement facility provides professional caregiving services in addition to room and board.
Memory care – seniors challenged by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can receive specialized assisted living care at a retirement facility offering memory care. Many facilities have specially designed buildings for added safety and security, as well as individualized programs to help slow the progression of memory loss.
Skilled nursing care – the most comprehensive level of care offered at a retirement facility, skilled nursing is provided to seniors with serious chronic illnesses or injuries who require full-time medical care and supervision.
Some retirement facilities specialize in just one type of care, while others may offer two or more at a time.
When To Consider a Retirement Facility
Seniors may begin to consider moving to a retirement facility any time after the age of 55. At some point, their ability to do physical things such as climb up stairs, do yard work or go to the grocery store becomes increasingly more difficult and tiresome. This is a wise time to consider a retirement facility.
Other issues that may cause a senior to consider a retirement facility may be linked to mental capacity. When a senior loses the ability to recall short-term events and/or experiences long-term memory problems, this is a sign that a retirement facility may be a good long-term care option.
Retirement Facility Amenities
While each retirement facility is different, generally, most residents can expect to enjoy the following amenities:
- Senior-friendly building design (single-story, walk-in showers, safety handlebars, etc.)
- Spacious accommodations
- Fun group activities
- Restaurant-style meals
- Private transportation services
- Grounds and building maintenance
- Shared community areas (library, game room, tv room, etc.)
Residents of a retirement facility offering assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing may also receive some or all of the following services:
- 24-hour staffing
- Assistance with activities of daily living
- Emergency call buttons
- Ambulation and escort services
- Three meals per day
- Help managing medications and other health conditions
Find a Retirement Facility
Whether looking to downsize from a single-family home or join a group of like-minded neighbors, retirement facilities are a great choice for both independent retirees as well as less active seniors in need of extra support and care. Browse our nationwide directory to Find Retirement Communities near you.
Written by senior housing writer Jacqui Howell.