Senior Housing 101

If you feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of senior housing options, you’re not alone. Though the titles of these housing options are similar, there are important differences between them. We’ve created a list of the various housing choices for older adults to help you make the best decision for you or your loved one in need of support.

Independent Living Facility (ILF):

This housing option is appropriate for an older adult without a serious medical condition. Residents of these facilities are normally extremely independent and apartments contain fully equipped kitchens. Often, there includes a communal dining space and residents can elect a certain number of meals per day. ILF’s often organize engaging and fun social outings or in-house events for residents to enjoy. This housing option is mostly funded through private funding, though there are some government funded independent living facilities available.

Also considered:

  1. Retirement Community
  2. Congregate Care
  3. Senior Apartments


Assisted Living Facility (ALF):

Assisted living communities are for older adults who are no longer able to live independently either because of a medical condition or the normal effects of aging. These seniors, however, do not require any intense medical interventions. ALF’s provide assistance with medications, activities of daily living, meals and housekeeping. Most apartments do not have fully equipped kitchens and meals, instead, are administered in a central location. The facility is sometimes staffed with 24/7 nursing capabilities, for additional safety concerns. At times, there are specialty units available for people suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The amenities of ALFs vary greatly, so make sure to understand all the intricacies of the residence before signing up.

Also considered:

  1. Assisted care communities


Nursing Homes:

Nursing homes are the most medically intensive senior housing option. These facilities provide around-the-clock nursing care from licensed professionals. Many nursing homes provide short-term rehabilitation for older adults recovering from an illness, injury or surgery along with long-term arrangements for residents with complex care needs. Rooms are often shared. These facilities offer in-house activities for residents to enjoy and have strict visiting hours.

Also considered:

  1. Long Term Care Facility
  2. Skilled Nursing


The home health care services at Alliance may help you avoid senior housing entirely. Please contact us for more information at 1-877-NURSE80 for more information.


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