Caregiver with senior

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re trying to figure out the best living arrangements for an aging loved one. There are many different types of living options for the elderly, with varying degrees of care.

It’s important to consider your loved one’s general health, mobility, mental capabilities, and specific activities they may need help with as they grow older. It also is important to consider their interests, social life, and other factors that will be impacted by where and how they want to live.

Read on to learn about types of senior living, what each one provides, and how you and your loved one can plan for the future.

Senior Living Options for Your Loved One

Remaining at home

The vast majority of older adults remain in their homes, whether they’re living alone or with family. Family members generally provide help with everyday activities like bathing, cooking, or driving. Some families opt to hire in-home caregivers or nursing professionals on a part-time basis.

If an older adult chooses to remain at home, the goal is to bring in additional resources to help support everyone involved.

Independent living

Many active older adults who no longer want to deal with the hassles of home ownership and maintenance choose to move to an independent living facility.

In this case, transitioning to senior living is more like moving to a new house without the worry or upkeep. Independent living facilities (often called patio homes, retirement villages, or retirement communities) also offer opportunities to socialize and interact with others.

Personal care

The next step along the care continuum is the personal care home. Here, residents receive the help they need with daily routines and activities. This help might include medicine management, nutritional support, or assistance with daily personal care.

Some personal care facilities are stand-alone units while others are attached to long-term care or skilled nursing facilities.

Assisted living

Assisted living offers a slightly different type of care from either independent living or personal care — it’s somewhere in between the two. Assisted living is for older adults who want the freedom and independence of apartment living but may need a little extra help with daily activities.

Skilled nursing care

Skilled nursing is usually the best choice for seniors who need 24-hour care. The staff is trained to address the physical, psychological, and social needs of seniors. This team of professionals may include geriatricians (doctors who specialize in caring for older adults), nurse practitioners, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers.

Short-term rehab also falls under the umbrella of skilled nursing care. Older people who’ve had a hip or knee replacement often do physical and occupational therapy in a skilled nursing care center before returning home.

Planning Ahead for Senior Living

Transitioning to senior living presents a variety of challenges and benefits. One of the most important things you and your loved one can do is plan ahead so you don’t have to make a hurried decision during a crisis. Planning for an elderly loved one’s future can ease the move to a senior living facility.

Have conversations with your older loved about their preferences; then tour facilities and ask lots of questions before committing.

For more information on senior living options, please visit the UPMC Aging Institute online or call 1-866-430-8742. Or call 1-800-324-5523 to learn about the many options and amenities available at UPMC Senior Communities.

If you have questions about full, in-network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals, please call our help line at 1-855-646-8762.