Assisted Living vs. Retirement Home

Assisted Living vs. Retirement Home

Finding adequate housing and care for aging parents, family members, or even yourself, can be a little confusing. The terms for these types of facilities are often confused both in function and name.

There are some distinct differences that separate the services provided. How do you know what category you or a loved one fits into?

As the name suggests, Assisted Living means just that. People, who are still mentally or physically capable of caring for themselves in a limited capacity, but require some assistance, could be good candidates for this setting. People who live in this type of setting are usually referred to as “Residents”. The living quarters provide a living space more like a small apartment, furnished with items from the elderly person’s own home. Some residents bring their automobiles and still drive for themselves.

Depending on the person’s health and needs, there are various methods of providing the care they require. Some facilities are staffed with medical personnel and some places are staffed with CNA’s, or Certified Nursing Assistants. The level of care can range from limited help with bathing, eating, dressing, and medications, to all of those things, including scheduled “well-being” checks every two hours or as needed. Asst. living doesn’t always mean a permanent stay, although most spend the remainder of their lives in this setting.

Some elderly people find themselves simply needing “monitoring” of taking medications or help caring for basic needs after a surgery or health issue. Help is just a click away. There is always someone to call for help for things they can’t do alone while healing, or may need reminding to do, on a daily basis. An assisted living facility usually provides transportation to and from doctor visits or to do shopping.

Fun is also a part of healthful living for the elderly. Both of these facilities provide scheduled activities such as parties, religious services, games, beauty parlors, communal meals, and many other outlets to encourage social interaction.

How do these two settings differ from each other? A retirement home doesn’t focus so much on health care as it does the communal aspect of living. Some facilities provide a majority of the same services as the other, but the retirement home is centered on bringing together people who are around the same age and enjoying life without the responsibilities of caring for a home.

Maintenance responsibilities are part of the package in both places. The burden for caring for a home is now taken from the elderly person. Again, depending on the individual needs and abilities of the person or people involved, many of the chores associated with independent living can be done for them in these structured settings. If the need ever arises that more care is necessary either for inside maintenance of living quarters or health needs change, the transition to provide for those needs is usually smooth and easy. Both facilities offer a quality of life with dignity, care and independence.


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