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Understanding the Differences in Senior Living Options

There’s a lot to know about senior living, from levels of care, to types of residences, to what dining
is like, to what happens in a typical day. And if you’re just beginning the process of making an
informed choice for a loved one, or for yourself, having all that information to tap into is a very
good thing. That’s because the more you know about your senior living options, the more
informed your choice—and the happier you, your loved one, and your family will be.
Senior living options: a quick study
Way beyond a rocking chair or game of bingo: today’s older adults have so many more choices of
how to spend their retirement years, whether looking for an active, fulfilling lifestyle that feels like
a vacation, or the peace of mind that comes with personalized support available 24/7.

Independent Living

Choice. Freedom. Independence. These communities are ideal for seniors who need
minimal to no support, and who prefer to spend their days engaged in interests and
passions instead of endless chores and household responsibilities. Amenities often
resemble those found in a resort, with luxury and comfort a priority. Residents might
spend their days attending a cooking demonstration, swimming, joining yoga and exercise
classes, going on a special outing, or having family over for lunch.
Independent living communities cater to seniors who want to live among their peers in a
maintenance-free environment that offers a diverse culinary program, a variety of
activities and wellness programs to choose from, and other inclusive services such as a
concierge and transportation. While they don’t direct care assistance, many of these
communities typically have resources for third-party providers so residents can opt for in-
home care services if they choose.
Assisted Living
Assisted living communities are a great choice for seniors who need help with some
everyday tasks—such as personal care or taking medication—but who still wish to live
independently. Whether for a loved one or for yourself, the support you receive in assisted
living gives you the freedom and peace of mind to be more independent.
Residents can receive assistance with bathing, dressing, eating and medication as well as
access to onsite medical care when needed. Many offer cleaning, laundry and
transportation services, and most offer prepared meals included in the monthly rate. Each
person enjoys the convenience of a homelike setting without the worry of home upkeep,
cooking, cleaning and yard maintenance.
In addition, a range of scheduled programs, activities and outings provide the opportunity
to live a more fulfilling life than maybe you have in years. With its support and flexibility to
add care as needs change, assisted living is one of the most popular senior living options

Memory and Dementia Care

A memory care neighborhood in a senior living community (or stand-alone memory care) is
designed to provide a nurturing, and soothing environment for those dealing with
cognitive impairment. Seniors receive personalized attention and assistance with basic
tasks such as grooming, dressing, eating, medications, and other activities of daily living.
Because some people with memory loss wander and may become lost, many of these
communities are designed to make navigation as safe as possible and easy.
Specially trained caregivers understand how to build trusting relationships with residents,
tailoring activities and events to match the preferences and “life story” of each person. For
example, through our Empowered Living at Clearwater Living, we recognize that fostering a
sense of well-being and self-esteem is essential to creating rich and rewarding experiences
for those living with memory loss.
Those seniors with mild cognitive impairment who are still able to care for themselves in a
safe, supervised setting may do well in an assisted living setting.

Skilled Nursing

For those who need intensive, round-the-clock medical care, skilled nursing might be the
best choice among all the senior living options. Skilled nursing can be available in a senior
living community or in a stand-alone facility. The ambiance is much different than that of
senior living. Doctors, nurses, and aides are readily available. In addition, occupational,
physical, and speech therapists are often on staff to help slow the progression of chronic
conditions. While skilled nursing facilities provide rehabilitation, many senior living
communities also have in-house therapy available to support the continuation of increased
strength, mobility, and balance to help residents live more independently.
Other ways nursing homes differ from senior living include:
Accommodations. Nursing homes are a medical setting, so it feels more like a
hospital. Residents typically live in small rooms, often with a roommate. In contrast,
senior living features a range of accommodations from private apartments to
freestanding cottages in some communities. Having the extra space also makes it
easier for couples to stay together in senior living.
Lifestyle. While nursing homes do offer a degree of activity programming, one of
the main benefits of senior living communities is the focus on lifestyle and wellness.
A range of activities, outings, clubs and classes are offered. And while a theater,
fitness center and restaurant-style dining are just the beginning in senior living,
nursing homes simply don’t offer the same level of amenities.
The key to successful aging is having the options available to make the best choices for one’s
care and lifestyle. This is why Clearwater Living communities offer senior living options that
include Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Short-Term Stays. We invite you to

At Clearwater Living®, we want you to feel confident in your decision by understanding your senior living options. If you’re wondering whether now is the right time for senior living, take this quick 4-5 minute assessment to learn what option may be the best fit for you or your loved one.Our team of experts is happy to help answer any questions you may have or connect you with additional information. Contact us to learn more.

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