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We want to help you understand what you need to know about elder care. Here we provide access to reliable information and resources. You should always feel free to call us, however, so we can provide personalized guidance for specific questions and concerns.


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Skilled nursing communities are residences designed to house and assist individuals who have health conditions that require constant monitoring and availability of medical personnel. Skilled nursing care, sometimes referred to as nursing home care or extended care services, provides 24-hour supervision, meals, activities and health management support for residents. Some senior living communities offer designated residences and specialized care for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

While skilled nursing care provides the highest level of care for seniors outside of a hospital, assisted living is best for those who need some help with bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, and eating, but do not require 24-hour-a-day health care by doctors.

Skilled nursing care may be a good choice if:

  • Both medical and personal care needs have become too great to handle at home or in another senior living community. This may be due to a recent hospitalization, or a chronic illness which has gradually been worsening.
  • Your parent or loved one needs a higher level of care temporarily after a hospitalization, but a return to home or other accommodation is anticipated after a brief period of time.

Glossary of Senior Living Terms

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Helping someone you love explore retirement community or health care options often requires a little translation. This brief glossary will help you differentiate plans, services, and senior living options.

Most retirement communities require that residents have reached a given age before moving in. You’ll find 65+ is a common benchmark.

Assisted living communities typically provide services which allow the resident to maintain a degree of independence, while offering a helping hand with given tasks such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and taking medications.

CCRCs are senior living communities that provide multiple lifestyle options and choices, generally including independent (or residential) living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing residences or suites.

In an independent living (or residential living) community, residents are capable of living in a residence with or without assistance.

Life Care is a term often used to distinguish communities that offer lifestyles and care—for life, with virtually no additional increase to monthly fees, whether a resident is in a residence or a residential health services program including assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing. By contrast, some CCRCs provide continuing care with a fee-for-service contract, requiring additional fees for living at higher levels of care.

Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance developed specifically to cover the cost of skilled nursing, assisted living, home health care and other long-term care services. These services are usually not covered by traditional health insurance or Medicare.

The federal health insurance program called Medicare is designed for people who are 65 and older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease. Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D cover specific services and care.

Financed by state and federal governments, Medicaid is the program of medical assistance designed for those unable to afford regular medical service—available to fund care in a skilled nursing setting.

A specialized type of care, memory care is tailored specifically for the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive disorders.

Skilled nursing care facilities, commonly referred to as nursing homes or health centers, are licensed health care communities that are inspected and regulated by a state’s Department of Health Services. They offer long- and short-term care for individuals who need rehabilitation services or who suffer from serious or persistent health issues that are often too complicated to be tended to at home.

Services designed to help an individual recover from an injury, operation, stroke, or illness. These may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and memory care. In most cases, services are planned to help the patient return as closely as possible to pre-challenge levels. The services may be residential (inpatient), or outpatient, and may be short- or long-term, depending on the needs of the patient.

The term retirement community encompasses a wide scope of variations—several of which are covered here. Rental communities, continuing care, Life Care, assisted living, and skilled nursing care communities all fall within the spectrum, as do age-restricted communities of individually owned homes with common services and amenities.

Skilled nursing care communities offer daily nursing care, provided or supervised by licensed medical personnel.