Reviewed by Dany Paul Baby, MD on June 28, 2022

Active Adult Community


If you’re healthy and independent but want a house and neighborhood designed for your needs and interests, this might be the right fit. You have to be a certain age, typically at least 55, to rent or buy one of these condos or houses. The communities usually offer social opportunities with your peers, activities, and sports, but no care or other support.

Senior Apartments


Another option for independent seniors is to rent an apartment in a building that doesn’t allow kids or young adults. These can be high-end and costly or designed for people on a tight budget. They may have perks like a gym or pool, but they don’t have any care services.

Independent Living


This type of community might be right for you if you’re able to take care of yourself but want someone else to do the cooking and cleaning. They typically offer meal plans as well as services like laundry, transportation to shopping areas or doctors’ appointments, and housekeeping. Most have social activities for residents and schedule outings to local events.



Seniors who are independent and don’t want to move into a facility run by someone else may think about a co-housing community or co-op, where you own your own home. Residents share some common facilities and make decisions about the community together.

Home Health Care


If you live in your own home and get sick or injured, home health care can provide some basic treatments you’d typically get in a hospital or nursing facility. For example, home health aides can change wound dressings, give shots, take your blood pressure, or help with meals. Your doctor can refer you to a home health agency so it’s more likely to be covered by insurance.

Adult Day Social Care


These programs or centers offer a safe, comfortable place to enjoy meals and socialize with peers, but you don’t stay overnight. Trained staff can help with tasks like going to the bathroom or eating. They may also provide transportation to and from the center.

Assisted Living or Residential Care


Seniors who need a little more help with personal care but are still active and generally healthy may find one of these a good fit. Assisted living and residential care facilities offer the same social events, housekeeping, or meal services as independent living, but they also have staff on hand to keep track of your medicines and offer help when you need it.

Memory Care Facility


Some assisted living facilities have areas dedicated to memory care. This means there’s a separate floor or wing just for people who have some form of dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease. Memory care facilities have round-the-clock staff to care for the residents and make sure they stay safe. 

Nursing Home


Skilled nurses are on site around the clock to help with medical care, supervised by a doctor. Nursing assistants help residents bathe, dress, walk, or eat their meals. Therapists can also help seniors who have physical or speech problems.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)


These offer the different options for care you may need over time. For example, one area may have independent living apartments, while another has units with assisted living or memory care services. Some CCRCs even include a nursing home. You can age in place and not have to move to another facility.

Respite or Personal Care


If you’re a caregiver for a senior and need an occasional break, these programs can step in for a short time. Staff can care for seniors in their own homes or at assisted living or skilled nursing facilities. You may book someone for a few hours or a few weeks. These may not be covered by insurance, so check on the cost before you commit.

Palliative Care


Doctors, nurses, therapists, or clergy work together to ease your pain or other symptoms and give you comfort. It’s not designed to treat or cure your disease. You can get palliative care at a nursing home, hospital, or in your own home.

Hospice Care


This is round-the-clock care at a hospital, special facility, or at home for people who have an incurable illness. Doctors and nurses treat pain and other symptoms, like nausea or breathing problems. Clergy or social workers offer counseling or emotional support.

Adult Foster Care


This may work well for seniors who have a mild disability. They’re usually small, with up to six residents who each have their own bedroom but share a living or dining room. Adult foster care homes may offer meals, recreation, or rides to the doctor’s office, but they don’t provide medical care. These homes also may have social workers or legal aides.

Show Sources


AARP: “Which Type of Housing Is Best for You?” “Housing Options for Seniors.”

Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center: “Residential Care.”

Medicare: “What’s Home Health Care?”

California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform: “Residential Care/Assisted Living: What Is Residential Care for the Elderly?”

Adult Day Health Care Council: “Social Adult Day Care Fact Sheet.”

National Institute on Aging: “What Is Respite Care?” “Everything You Wanted to Know About Adult Foster Care.”

National Institute on Aging: “What Are Palliative Care and Hospice Care?”