There is a range of residential facilities that cater to elderly individuals and people with certain needs. They offer a range of services to people who need little or no assistance to those who require significant daily medical care. While three categories are listed below, please keep in mind that not every facility fits neatly into just one category. Some facilities may use alternate terms to describe their facility than the category names listed here. Nonetheless, this post should still be a useful guide to learn what types of facilities are available.

Independent Living

Independent living communities and facilities are for seniors who can live independently and wish to live in a community with similarly situated seniors. Most facilities require a minimum age, usually at least 55, for residents. A wide range of social activities are generally offered. Meals and other daily services are sometimes available. Living facilities range from apartments to freestanding condominiums and homes.

Typically, prices mirror the costs of similarly sized real estate in the area plus a monthly fee for any services that are offered. Normally all costs are privately paid.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities are for people who require some assistance with daily tasks, such as meals, bathing, and taking medication. Meals and housekeeping are normally provided. These facilities are generally staffed 24 hours a day to assist residents. Social activities usually are also offered. Some assisted living facilities either specialize in, or have separate sections for, residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Residents typically live in individual apartments with meals provided in a central dining hall.

Assisted living facilities are typically paid for privately, but can be eligible for Medicaid coverage in certain states under certain circumstances.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are for people who require a significant amount of daily medical care from a skilled nursing staff. Nursing homes care for people who are recovering from injuries and illnesses that only require short-term care and/or residents with significant, long-term medical conditions that require a high degree of daily medical care. Residents often share rooms with other residents. Meals are provided and are served either in a central dining hall, or in the resident’s room, if the resident is unable to make it to the dining hall. Appropriate activities are also usually offered.

Most residents get their costs paid for through either Medicaid or Medicare, but some pay privately.