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A Guide to Assisted Living and Senior Housing

For more in-depth information, see’s guides to Senior Housing and Assisted Living.

Retirement options come in many varieties, from active adult communities, continuing care retirement communities and memory care centers to assisted living communities, independent living communities, and senior apartments and homes. Selecting the best-fitting housing option can be a challenge. Thankfully, retirement options can be divided into two general categories to help you select the level of care you will need during your golden years. These categories are best known as Assisted Living and Senior Housing.

Assisted Living

Seniors that require a certain level of medical and personal assistance in addition to housing will find that Assisted Living communities are the best option. These care communities include other amenities such as meals and snacks; weekly, bi-weekly or monthly housekeeping; linen services or personal laundry; transportation; fitness and wellness programs; and social, recreational or educational activities. Community types that fall under this category include:

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities – communities that offer a continuum of options from independent living to skilled nursing and memory care depending on the level of care needed.
  • Memory Care Communities – communities that provide a safe and supportive environment for those with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.
  • Nursing Homes – a place of residence for seniors who need 24-hour medical support and care due to considerable limitations with daily living routines including eating, dressing, bathing, etc.
  • Residential Care Homes – a private single-family home that is licensed to provide personalized service to a small group of seniors.

Senior Housing

Communities that fall under the category of Senior Housing are best for seniors who are looking for a residential community that offers amenities to enrich everyday living. These include planned social activities and events and a low-maintenance or maintenance-free environment. These communities include options such as:

  • 55+/62+ Retirement Communities – these senior housing communities are designed to meet the needs of their residents by offering well-appointed apartments, leisure activities, and convenient services. Residents must meet a minimum age requirement to sign a lease.
  • Senior Apartments – apartments exclusively for the senior population equipped to serve their needs with well-appointed and senior-friendly features, planned social activities, senior fitness classes and more.
  • Single-family homes or manufactured homes for rent/sale – these may or may not be exclusive to seniors. Those that are age-restricted are located in retirement communities and offer a wide variety of senior-friendly amenities.

Another popular retirement option that could fall under either category depending on the spectrum of services offered is Independent LivingThese communities offer an independent lifestyle and the benefits of a full-service community. These benefits include meals in a restaurant setting, housekeeping, transportation, and various social activities, but typically no medical assistance. However, some providers to make an exception with medical assistance, and others allow outside providers as well.

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  • Lenny Vasquez-Buret

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    Hi, guys! I'm Lenny, the Operations Coordinator for Targeted sites like and I'm part of an amazing team of equally creative and innovative people working to help the business run smoothly. When I'm not writing for ForRent, you can find me dancing, traveling or cooking something yummy!

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