Assisted Living Vs. Retirement Communities: Similarities and Differences

There are many different forms of senior care and housing available, and so it can be quite confusing to choose the appropriate type for the senior in your life. Two terms that you will hear often when looking for senior care are assisted living and retirement communities. While there are some similarities between the two, ultimately they serve different purposes and are not the same. Knowing the difference between these two types of senior care will help you make the most informed choice about what type of living facility is best. Here’s everything you need to know about retirement communities and assisted senior living.

Retirement Communities

Retirement communities are complexes that provide living options for seniors. While they typically offer a variety of resources and services for seniors, they do not usually offer day-to-day assistance or medical care on site. Retirement communities are best for seniors who are still living mostly independently, but need a living space that’s catered toward their needs and preferences as seniors.

Retirement communities typically consist of apartment style units that work for either couples or singles. Many retirement communities are now even pet friendly as well. These are very similar to traditional one- or two-bedroom apartments, but they are very safe, clean, and accessible for seniors. Retirement communities also will typically have a variety of other services available on site to help seniors stay healthy. These often include a pool, gym, dining area/restaurant, outdoor park, or even a hair salon. Retirement communities also typically offer transportation services to their residents. The amenities provided by the retirement community can range widely depending on the size and budget of the facility.

In addition to the amenities provided, retirement communities typically offer many social opportunities for residents to get to know each other and form friendships. For example, many retirement communities host themed event nights and have clubs where seniors can connect over mutual interests. Retirement communities also will host outings where seniors can enjoy cultural attractions in the area.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities also provide living options for seniors. Many assisted living communities are set up like retirement communities, with safe, accessible apartments that are designed for seniors. Some assisted living facilities are located in smaller, residential homes where seniors would have their own bedroom and communal living spaces instead of their own apartment. However, the amenities provided in assisted living are quite different. Assisted living is traditionally a better option for seniors who are struggling with some of the physical or mental health problems that come with older age.

Assisted living facilities have caregivers on site that help seniors with basic daily tasks, such as dressing, grooming, and bathing. They also provide three meals per day, as well as laundry and cleaning services. Assisted living caregivers also will help seniors exercise and enjoy their favorite hobbies and activities. They offer similar social activities to retirement communities for seniors who are interested. Although assisted living facilities help with preventative health care, like medication reminders and physical therapy, they do not typically offer medical care on site.

Retirement communities and assisted living communities are both great options for seniors who are looking to transition into a smaller living space. They both offer housing that’s senior friendly, as well as amenities to keep them happy and occupied in old age. However, the services provided are different to best suit your senior’s medical care needs. To find the senior living help that’s right for you, start looking into retirement facilities in your community today.