The older one gets, the more they have to plan ahead. After all, life is full of planning and making decisions. However, as one enters their golden years, it becomes especially imperative that they make a choice in regard to their future living situation.

Because the aging process often involves a change in family structure, the development of disabilities, and the need for different levels of care and assistance, an elderly individual may find that their current residence is no longer serving them well. Coming to this conclusion is not uncommon nor is it wrong.

When it comes to finding you or a loved one a new living situation during their later years, it’s important to consider all of the living facility options at hand. To get you started, here are six main types of elderly living situations that you or your senior family member may consider calling a future home:


1. Independent living homes

An independent living environment is a home that is specifically designed for senior citizens. Types of independent living environments include retirement or 55+ communities, senior housing and apartments, and retirement homes.

Like college neighborhoods, independent living communities and the like feature residences of a similar age range, providing them the opportunity to socialize with like-minded individuals. In many of these communities, seniors are offered lawn maintenance for their convenience along with different amenities that may interest them.

2. Assisted living homes

Senior citizens with disabilities may be more likely than those their age without disabilities to seek a living facility outside of their regular home environment as they get older. With a limited ability to do certain things on their own, it’s important that they depend on the assistance of someone else to give them the proper quality of life.

Assisted living homes are specifically designed for seniors who have disabilities or those who can’t or don’t want independent living. There are a diversity of services these homes typically offer including personal care tasks, housekeeping, medication administration, laundry, wellness programs, social activities, and more.

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3. Memory care centers

It’s normal to have some minor memory problems as we age. The more information we learn, the greater the potential for us to forget. And although memory loss isn’t inevitable as we age and can be tended to early on, for some seniors, their cognition becomes a problem to where they require special housing to ensure their safety.

Memory care centers or Alzheimer’s centers can be great living facilities for senior citizens who are unable to care for themselves due to Alzheimer’s or other dementias. With the watch and care of facility staff, one’s family can rest assured that their elderly loved one won’t forget to eat or accidentally take too much medication.

4. Nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities

Nursing homes, unlike assisted living homes, are more suitable for senior citizens who need a higher level of care for physical and/or mental health issues. Citizens in wheelchairs or who spend most of their time in bed can benefit from the 24-hour, around-the-clock care provided by the staff in these facilities.

Some services provided by nurses in nursing homes include assistance with everyday activities, rehabilitation services, tube and gastronomy feedings, assessment of the changes of residents’ conditions, and care plan management and evaluation.

Compared to assisted living environments, however, nursing facilities offer less independence for residents, often have shared bedrooms, and are structured more like hospital settings. Nevertheless, the complexity, quality, and availability of care provided by nursing home staff make these homes more applicable for many seniors.

5. Residential care homes

Providing less yet a higher level of care than assisted living homes, residential care homes offer more personalized attention for elderly residences as the senior-to-staff ratio is lower. These homes are said to be especially suitable for widows.

The services offered at residential care homes can vary. Typically, however, services may include bathing, transportation, dressing, grooming, medication distribution, bathroom care, and certain medical services.

Do note, however, that residential care homes are not designed for seniors with severe health setbacks. The staff at these residences are usually not trained to administer medication, treat bedsores, offer tube-feeding, or provide assisted living community-level recreational activities and amenities.

6. Home

While it’s not always an option for all seniors, many would rather stay at home during their golden years, often referred to as “aging in place.” There are many reasons why a senior might want to age in place. Safety, independence, proximity to loved ones, comfort, convenience, and better finances are all potential reasons.

For the seniors who may require some assistance, they may live with another family member full- or part-time. They may also hire others to come out so many times a week to provide different services for them whether that be for temporary disability care or lawn maintenance to make their at-home life smoother and less stressful.


Getting older, we expect that the events, routines, and schedules of our lives will only get easier and more consistent. However, the truth is, senior citizens, require just as much decision-making if not more than their younger counterparts. One of the big decisions a senior must make is where they will live as they continue to age.

The good news is, there are several types of elderly living facilities to pick from, from residential care homes to memory care centers. The living facility a senior may be best for will depend on the type of assistance they need for their current condition as well as how independent they wish to be or can physically and mentally be.

As you research these different options, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each facility in regard to what you or your loved one needs. Once you find the best living facility, the search isn’t over. It’s imperative to find the best, safest facility to ensure you or your elderly loved one will be taken good care of for many years.