Choosing Your Level of Elder Care

elder careGet to know your senior housing options.

When the time comes for you to pursue elder care options for your parent or loved one, you will find a wide and varied array of senior housing options available to you. From active adult homes and other independent living arrangements, to skilled nursing facilities and memory care units, there is bound to be a place perfectly suited to her needs. The trick is to acquire a basic understanding of the overarching levels of elder care to help you narrow down your search. That’s just what this article will help you do.

How to Start Your Senior Housing Search

The best senior housing searches start with your loved one in mind. Think about her, her likes and dislikes, her social disposition, healthcare needs and lifestyle preferences. Then, as you read over the following descriptions, see which one stands out as a potential fit.

Elder Care Option #1: Assisted Living Facility

Assisted living facilities provide daily custodial care to residents who may need help with a couple or a few activities of daily living. Residents enjoy a certain amount of autonomy and don’t require constant or regular on-site medical attention. Assisted living homes range in size from small home-like facilities to large communities with dorm-like rooms, apartments and other senior housing options.

If your loved one has started to struggle with or neglect some aspects of daily care or maintenance, pursuing elder care at an assisted living facility could be a great choice. For more information, see our article, "Nursing Home vs. Assisted Living," or visit

Elder Care Option #2: Skilled Nursing Home

Nursing Homes (also known as skilled nursing units) provide an extra level of attention by offering medical care and oversight 24 hours a day. Most often, certified nurses work during day-time hours and licensed practical nurses provide nighttime medical care. The elder care your loved one will receive in a nursing home will be both custodial and medical in nature so you can rest assured he is receiving all the help he needs.

Nursing homes often offer many of the same amenities as assisted living facilities, including off-site excursions, social clubs, exercise classes and physical therapy. Fill out the search form above to talk to an elder care advisor about nursing homes with the amenities you want.

Elder Care Option #3: Home Care

Home care is the largest subsection of senior housing in the nation. Over 7.6 million people currently rely on private caregivers to provide them with elder care services.* Whether you are considering supplying care yourself or hiring in-home providers, there is much you should know about the benefits and drawbacks of home care. Those who choose home care as their elder care option often value relationships with family members over more social environments.

To learn more, see our article, "Nursing Home vs. Home Care."

Choosing Your Senior Housing

Did one of the elder care options above stand out as a sure fit for your loved one? Guide to Nursing Homes focuses on information about skilled nursing facilities, but our elder care advisors are well-versed in each type of senior housing listed above, from active living to home care. If you’d like personalized help determining the best placement for your loved one, simply call the toll-free number at the top of this page and an experienced advisor will help you through the process, free of charge.

*Source: National Association for Home Care and Hospice, Basic Statistics About Home Care, 2004.