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Residential Elder Care - What Options Do You Have?

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

Thanks to medical advances, people are living longer. That’s good the good news! However, the longer you live, the likelier it is that you’ll require LTC. In fact, according to, 7 out of 10 people will require long-term care in their lifetimes. Here are some interesting statistics:

  • 8.3 million—Number of people in the U.S. who received some form of LTC in 2016

  • 52% 52 percent of people — 47 percent of men and 58 percent of women— who reach age 65 will need long-term care in their lifetime

  • 2 years — Average length of time, over a lifetime, that a person will require LTC

As you can see from these numbers, a significant percentage of the population will require long-term care. No one likes to discuss these kinds of issues, but it’s in your best interest to factor extended care into your post-retirement plans. A starting point is to understand the categories of eldercare.

There are multiple categories of residential care communities and several home-based care services, and each is referred to by many different names. Many factors are taken into account when determining if you're eligible for assisted living, or if it's the right place for you. The types of residential care communities you'll encounter include:

  1. Independent Living / Senior Livings are apartment buildings or patio homes within a complex that offers dining, transportation, security, and recreational activities, but no health care services. There is sometimes a minimum age requirement.

  2. Assisted Living provides an apartment-like setting that allows individuals to age in place and receive the assistance they need to maintain maximum independence and personal choice. These residences provide assisted living services such as: meals, laundry, housekeeping, transportation services, and basic cognitive support services. Additionally assisted living residences must provide or arrange for other types of health care services such as hospice services, occupational therapy, skilled nursing services, physical therapy, behavioral health services, home health services, escort services, and specialized cognitive support services.

  3. Personal Care Homes are residences that provide housing and meals for individuals – typically older people or people with physical, behavioral health, or cognitive disabilities – who are unable to care for themselves but do not need 24/7 nursing home or medical care. Available services are based on the individual needs of the resident but can include assistance with daily living activities including bathing, dressing or going to the bathroom.

  4. Skilled Nursing Homes provide 24-hour continuous health care services as well as room and board. The health care services include basic and skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, and a full range of other programs, treatments, and therapies such as occupational therapy and physical therapy. Skilled nursing facilities also manage complex medical needs that require equipment, such as ventilators and IV lines..

  5. Continuing Care Retirement Communities are residences that provide a continuum of care from independent living to assisted living to memory care to skilled nursing. These communities are designed to enable seniors with progressively declining health to remain in a single residential location or give healthy seniors the peace of mind that all their future needs are covered.

  6. Home Care agencies provide non-skilled services to individuals in their homes or other independent living environments. Home care may include assistance with self-administered medications; personal care assistance such as bathing, feeding, and hygiene; assistance with housekeeping, shopping, meal planning and preparation and transportation and respite care including support to the family.

  7. Home Health Care agencies provide health care services to ill, disabled, or vulnerable individuals in their homes or places of residence, enabling them to live as independently as possible. Home health care services include nursing care; home health aide care and physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services.

  8. Hospice is a coordinated program of palliative and supportive care for those with a limited life expectancy. It can be provided in a nursing home, assisted living residence, personal care home, individual’s home, or at a hospice facility.

While we understand planning for this type of care can be a difficult conversation to have with loved ones, we stress the importance of laying the roadwork for these situations before it's too late and the situation is already upon you. To begin your plan with one of our eldercare attorneys, reach out here.


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