Many people are unsure of the types of senior housing that are available to them or their loved one. Searching for senior housing can be frustrating and time consuming if you don’t know where to start.  There 6 types of senior housing; Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, Memory Care, Residential Care, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  While each community is unique, there are some features that each category share.  Some communities even have multiple types of senior living in their community.  This allows the senior to stay in the community as their needs change with time.  Let’s take a closer look at each housing category to see what each one provides.


Independent Living Communities are senior only communities that are 55 and older (55+) or 62 and older (62+).  Independent Living Communities offer amenities such as a fitness center, swimming pool, library, beauty salon, community room, and even a golf course.  There are many options available to either rent or buy.  Apartments or villas can be rented or leased.  In some independent retirement communities, you can purchase a house or condo.  Usually, it depends on a senior’s income as to which type of housing they choose.  There is affordable senior housing; including low-income subsidized housing such as HUD and Tax Credit (LIHTC) communities.  In the HUD and Tax Credit Communities the rent is set lower than the average market rent, so it is more affordable for a low-income senior. There are income qualifications to live in a low-income community, which are based on location and community guidelines.  You can search for “low income” and “HUD” housing at  Continuing Care Communities and some Assisted Living communities also have independent living options available.


An assisted living facility assists with daily needs and activities for a senior. Assisted Living Facilities helps make life easier and more fun by helping with laundry, cleaning, providing meals, and social activities.  Some communities offer restaurant style meals and happy hours (alcohol beverages).  Assisted Living Communities usually don’t provide skilled nursing care, such as wound care or rehabilitation.  Some light medical needs such as medicine dispensing may be available.  Assisted Living Communities are usually cost more than independent living and they are usually private pay.  If a senior can afford to live in an assisted living community their quality of life can greatly improve.  Assisted Living Communities can help make life easier and more fun for seniors that can afford to pay for services such as laundry, cleaning, meals, and social activities.


A skilled nursing facility assists with daily needs, meals, activities, and medical needs of a person. Sometimes a senior may go stay at a Skilled Nursing Facility after surgery, to rehabilitate before going home. Some facilities offer Long Term Care when medical care is needed on a long-term basis. A Skilled Nursing Facility usually accepts Medicare and/or Medicaid.  Usually, the senior has to have limited assets to qualify for a Medicaid bed.  The senior’s insurance may also help pay for the stay at the Skilled Nursing Facility.  Skilled Nursing facilities may be a short term or long-term solution for a senior that needs help with daily needs and medical assistance.


Memory Care is sometimes needed when a loved one has a memory loss disease such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s.  Memory Care can help when the senior’s disease has progressed to the point where they can no longer live on their own or with a family member. A Memory Care unit is usually part of an Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, or Continuing Care Community.  In a Memory Care unit, the patient is in a controlled area with other memory care patients.  The controlled and locked area helps keep the memory care patients safe.  A Memory Care facility can help keep your loved one safe, improve their quality of life, and give you peace of mind that they are safe.


Residential Care, or group home, is a non-medical residential setting with under 20 residents that provides room, board, housekeeping, supervision, medicine dispensing, and light personal care.  In a residential care setting the senior shares a house with other people.  Sometimes bedrooms or bathrooms are shared.  In the Residential Care setting the senior may feel more like home, since they are in a house.  If a senior needs some help, but they cannot afford an Assisted Living Community, then a Residential Care Community may be able to help them.


A Continuing Care Retirement Community includes housing options anywhere from Independent Living to Memory Care.  A Continuing Care Retirement Community allows the senior to move within the community to different care as they need.  There is a great sense of comfort knowing that the senior’s needs will be met in the same community as time progresses.

There are many options available to seniors when searching for new senior housing.  Finding the right housing option is important when trying to increase the quality of life for a senior.  Is it time to sell the house, and find the best option for senior living?  Start at to find the right senior housing for you or your loved one.