Senior Housing: Understanding Your Options

Each of us is unique, and therefore, no one type of living arrangement will fit everyone’s needs. Thankfully, there are a variety of senior housing options available to fit each individual’s needs and desires. As you begin the search for housing and services for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to understand the differences between the varying types of communities.

Senior Housing OptionsIndependent Living*

Independent living is designed for seniors who require little or no assistance with activities of daily living. In California, these independent living communities, also known as retirement homes, do not provide supportive services or help with activities of daily living. Under this living arrangement, the senior adult leads an independent lifestyle that requires minimal or no extra assistance.

Senior Housing OptionsAssisted Living**

Assisted Living refers to a special combination of housing, personalized supportive services, and health-related care designed to respond to the individual needs of those who require help with activities of daily living. Assisted Living communities are not health facilities, but licensed residential settings where care and support are provided, and where staff is available 24 hours a day to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs. Assisted Living is a non-institutional setting that promotes maximum independence and dignity for each resident and encourages family and community involvement. In California, Assisted Living communities are licensed Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) and regulated by the Department of Social Services. These include family-owned and operated communities, providers who serve seniors in several communities within California, and providers who offer Assisted Living services in communities in multiple states.

Senior Housing OptionsContinuing Care Retirement Community**

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) offer several levels of assistance, including independent living, Assisted Living, and nursing home care. CCRCs offer a long-term continuing care contract that provides for housing, residential services, and nursing care, usually in one location, and usually for a resident’s lifetime. In the state of California, all providers offering continuing care contracts must first obtain a certificate of authority and an RCFE license. In addition, CCRCs that offer skilled nursing services must hold a Skilled Nursing Facility License issued by the Department of Public Health.

Senior Housing OptionsNursing Home***

Nursing homes in California are licensed as Skilled Nursing Facilities through the Department of Public Health. These facilities provide 24-hour skilled care for chronic conditions and short-term convalescent care, for which medical and nursing care are indicated. Patients generally rely on assistance for most or all daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, and toileting.

Senior Housing OptionsInterested in learning more about Assisted Living and how it differs from other housing options? Visit CALA’s Assisted Living in California webpage for information on licensing, care, pricing, and the importance of variety and choice.

* Information courtesy of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA)
**Information courtesy of ALFA and the Department of Social Services (DSS)
***Information courtesy of ALFA and the Department of Public Health (CDPH)

3 thoughts on “Senior Housing: Understanding Your Options

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