What Is A Retirement Home?

Submitted by Easy Retirement Living

Published on January 16, 2024

It may come as no surprise to most people that our needs will change along with other circumstances as we get older. Older adults need to live in a supportive community where they are burdened with fewer responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, and working in the yard, amongst other things. The peace of mind extends to the senior’s loved ones who know their family is taken care of in a safe and balanced facility.

Today, there are various types of retirement-home types to choose from, which can make deciding on the right one challenging. Fortunately, this article should help you decide between skilled nursing facilities and other types of retirement homes.


What Is A Retirement Home?

Now before we start exploring the ins and outs of various communities for older adults, it would be worth starting with understanding the terminology. The term “retirement home” is no longer used by industry professionals, or they don’t prefer using it. The term used now is a “retirement community” in an effort to take the stigma away from the facilities. As we’ll detail below, independent living facilities give seniors a great deal of freedom to live independently.

The idea of these personal care services or facilities is to help reinforce the importance of independence in the community. So, seniors don’t feel they are giving up independence but instead use the community if the need arises.

Today, there are several types of retirement homes; there are ones with age restrictions, like 55+ and 62+, which include senior housing options, condos, and apartments.


Types of Retirement Homes

One of the ways to differentiate the various types of retirement communities is whether the resident will require memory care, which is specialized for adults with memory loss issues or dementia. They may also have Alzheimer’s or cognitive decline. These facilities have what is needed to take care of them.

The other types of independent or assisted living homes don’t have the same intense clinical oversight because it isn’t needed. Sure, they may monitor the corridors and doors with cameras, with other forms of security, but that’s about it.


55+ Communities

These are typically the most independent retirement communities. The residents here can move into these senior living communities with ease, and live a reasonably independent lifestyle, hence the name. Seniors enjoy further convenience across numerous amenities and activities compared to a traditional family home.

The apartment buildings in these communities are meant for those 55 and above and are thus referred to as adult communities. However, they don’t provide onsite care, but they can hire independent agencies if needed to provide the necessary care or some extra support.


Independent Living Communities

Usually, these are housed in a single large building or perhaps a secure facility, where residents enjoy all the amenities, including on-site restaurants, meal plans, and games. This is probably the best option for those who don’t need frequent medical attention but want to downsize; maybe they want to cut costs and not spend as much on upkeep.


Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

These offer a range of care from skilled nursing on one end of the spectrum to independent living. Even though this could be a little more expensive option, the plan does not have any upfront fees, but the price is meant to cover future medical expenditures for skilled nursing care.

The benefit of these facilities is that they provide security to the residents knowing they will live here for life, regardless of their care needs change.


Memory Care Retirement Communities

This is for adults going through cognitive decline but they share many features with an assisted living community. The option is best for those who have mid to late-stage Alzheimer’s disease or are suffering from dementia. The staff at these facilities are available 24/7 to help residents with everything from laundry to housekeeping. These are often commonly referred to as nursing homes, but what they offer is very different in terms of care.

The facility can prevent residents from leaving, making these safer than any regular retirement home or if the senior was living with family members. Since seniors suffering from cognitive decline may not be able to find their way around, the facilities are designed to make it easier for them to navigate, which is unlike a regular assisted living facility.

Research shows that seniors in these facilities have a lower risk of hospitalization and the need for skilled nursing compared to seniors in assisted living facilities.

However, seniors are provided with medical care and professional nursing if the need arises. Staff is always on hand to assess their needs similar to a nursing home but the staff mostly aren’t registered, nurses.


How To Choose A Retirement Community?

If you are deciding on a retirement community on behalf of your family member, you will want to do the following:

  • Ask lots of questions about the facility, its staff, and its history.
  • Visit the community multiple times. Ideally, at different types of the day to see what activities seniors are engaged in and meet with other residents. If possible have a word with them too.
  • Eat the meals there to check the quality. Many retirement communities have certified chefs so the food is good.
  • Meet the executive director to find out how they run the facility. Try to know them as people and their goals for the facility.
  • Finally, online reviews can help you decide.
  • Read the state’s regular reports about the community.


While choosing a facility can be challenging and often time-consuming, you can’t be sure if it is the right choice until your loved one has lived there for some time. If it isn’t the best fit, nothing is stopping you from looking for another and moving them (your loved one) there.



You May Also Like…

4 Stages Of Hospice Care

4 Stages Of Hospice Care

Understanding the Four Stages of Hospice Care: A Comprehensive Guide for Families The topic of death is an uncomfortable one for...

read more