One of the most difficult times in anyone’s life can be when they can no longer adequately take care of themselves at home. When this finally happens, an important decision must be made: assisted living or retirement home?

Though assisted living facilities and retirement homes are very similar (and, in fact, might even be housed under the same roof), they do have their differences. Knowing the differences between the two will help aging seniors and their families make the best choice possible.


Your Needs

As a senior looking into the options for assisted living and retirement homes, it’s essential that you evaluate yourself and your own needs. Take each of these questions into account:

  • Do you need regular medical attention?
  • Are you able to bathe, cook, clean, and dress by yourself without any problems?
  • Do you want to have easier access to dining, socialization, entertainment, or medical treatment?

Understanding your own needs and assessing the level of care needed will help you sort through the differences to select the one that works the best for you.


Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities are set up so that residents can experience as much freedom as possible while still receiving care and assistance. They strive to let residents remain as independent as they can while also providing regular help with daily activities, such as bathing, cooking, cleaning, and dressing. Additionally, many assisted living communities provide regular medical treatment so that residents with regular medical needs have easy access to the care they need. Assisted living communities are generally considered social places for seniors with minimal physical or health concerns. Most facilities offer a wide range of activities, groups, outings, and events designed to keep seniors social and active.


Retirement Homes

Retirement homes and assisted living communities are nearly one and the same. In a retirement home, residents continue living very similarly to life in their family home. Also known as senior apartments or congregate care, these homes are the choice for seniors capable of complete independence. Seniors frequently choose these facilities for the reassurance and convenience of available meals, entertainment, and medical treatment close at hand. Most retirement homes also provide ample social and entertainment opportunities that tend to go far beyond the services and amenities found in assisted living communities.


Making the Decision

Overall, your decision should depend on a senior’s individual needs and preferences. If your loved one is able to accomplish daily tasks without help, then a retirement home is a great choice to ensure they remain safe and active. If they need help with daily activities or regular medical attention, assisted living communities provide excellent care while respecting the independence of their residents. Consider their extracurricular needs as well, many facilities offer impressive facilities and amenities that will ensure your loved ones are happy and healthy.


In today’s day and age, it can be difficult for aging seniors to consider the wide range of senior care options. Rest assured that the vast majority of senior living communities are excellent and the individual options for each are numerous. Assessing and researching your options may yield a lot of results, after you figure out your individual needs it is much easier to narrow down your search to a home that best suits you.


Learn more about assisted living and other healthcare options at the main Assisted Living page or the main Caregiving page.

Want to get more helpful tips? Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.


About the Author: John Winfrey Jr. received his Bachelor’s in 2015 from the University of North Texas after spending much of his 20’s traveling across the country. Majoring in Marketing and minoring in Journalism gave him the experience needed to write and research important topics like senior health. Senior health especially hits home as his veteran father was a senior who eventually became deaf and blind. John had to become as familiar as he could, quickly, to provide support for his father.