The process of searching for a senior living community can be an overwhelming experience. With multiple types of facilities to choose from, how do you know which one is best for you or your loved one? This is a question North Star Senior Advisors are often asked when a family contacts us for help locating senior living. There are 6 types of senior living facilities, to include: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Residential Care Homes, Skilled Nursing, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities. So how do you know which one is best for you or your loved one? Here is a breakdown of the differences between each one (Average Cost in the state of Florida):

Independent Living Facility (ILF) 

(Average Cost $2900/month)

Apartment sized communities for senior who do not need specialized care. They offer housekeeping, dining, events, transportation, activities, and typically pay an all-inclusive monthly rate.

If I’m independent, why would I move to an Independent Living Facility?

Sometimes seniors don’t want to live alone and prefer socialization and oversight. Others prefer to downsize from their large homes to allow others to tend to the housekeeping, meal preparations and transportation. Health care services are often provided by outside providers who either rent an office in the building or visit the building periodically.

Assisted Living Facility (ALF)

(Average Cost $3200/month plus level of care)

With the same amenities offered in Independent Living, along with daily personal care for activities of daily living (ADL’s); bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting and medication oversight. Care staff is available 24/7 to help with care needs.

Memory Care (MC)

(Average Cost $3350-$5500/month plus level of care)

Communities that provide specialized care for those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia in a secured environment. They still have a quality of life and enjoy activities, personalized care, and medication oversight.

Residential Care Homes

(Average Cost $2500-$3200/month)

Traditional private home that has been converted and adapted to provide care for residents less than 15 but typically around 6 residents with a caregiver to provide assistance with ADL’s. These homes are licensed as assisted living facilities or adult family care homes.

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

(Average Cost $6000-$8000)

An institution or part of an institution that meets criteria for accreditation established by the sections of the Social Security Act that determine the basis for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for skilled nursing care. Skilled nursing care includes rehabilitation and various medical and nursing procedures.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC’s)

(Average Buy in Cost $100k-$400k and $2000-$4000/ monthly service fees)

Communities that provide all of the above or some of the above in one campus. A resident can spend the rest of their life in a CCRC and move between levels of care all on the same campus. There is typically a large sum of money for the initial buy in for the community. When the money runs out, one can continue to stay and age in place.

Respite Stays are Available

(Average Cost $150-$200/day)

Temporary institutional care of a dependent elderly, ill, or handicapped person, providing relief for their usual caregivers. Senior living communities such as assisted living often offer respite stays.

If you are still unsure of which type of facility suites you or the needs of your loved one, that is where Senior Advisors can come in. North Star Senior Advisors will guide you and work as your advocate which will enable you to have a smooth transition to the facility of your choice. Visit call us at 855-448-STAR (7827) for a free consultation.


This post contributed by North Star Senior Advisors.