When Your Parent is Ready for a Senior Living Community

It may come as a gradual realization, or perhaps suddenly after an accident or illness – you or your parent decide they would be safer or better cared for at a senior living community. It’s not an easy decision – most of us would prefer to age in place – but many times it is the best decision.

Accepting that they’re ready for a setting that will provide care, activities and companionship is a big step for an older person who is used to their independence. But what do they do next? Most people are aware of the senior living facilities in their area, but not at all familiar with the living options, what the lifestyle is like, or what it costs. Studying and discussing the options could take some time. To get you started, here’s a brief overview of what you might want to think about in terms of living options, costs, and other factors to consider.

Living options

Senior living options vary widely, but they generally fall into these categories:

  • Assisted living. The resident has a private home or apartment with access to community amenities, meals, and activities. They also have access to 24-hour staff, help with the activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, etc.), and services such as medication management. Memory care (for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias) may also be offered.
  • Skilled nursing facilities. A skilled nursing facility or nursing home typically provides both short-term rehabilitative stays for people recovering from hospitalizations and long-term care for people whose medical needs would not be met at other facilities. Memory care may also be offered.
  • Continuing care retirement communities offer living options that typically include independent living (programming and limited meal plans are often available, but no care or assistance is provided), assisted living, and skilled nursing care, allowing residents to stay in the same community as their needs change.


The cost of long-term senior housing varies, and in some cases may be partially covered by long-term care insurance. You are welcome to download this PDF about costs (“Cost of Long-Term Care Services”) from our website.

Other factors to consider

To help your parent decide which housing option is best, consider other factors such as:

  • Physical and mental health. Is your parent robust enough for an independent living setup, including cooking and cleaning, or will they need daily assistance or regular medical care?
  • Social needs and preferences. Review the social and entertainment options that would be available for each option. Are the offerings interesting and varied enough for your parent?
  • Location. Does your parent want to stay in the same general area? Would they rather move closer to adult children and grandchildren? How would that change impact everyone?
  • Unexpected scenarios. Your discussion should address the current and potential future impact of unexpected events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Would your parent have the resilience to cope with the isolation of independent living? Or would a supportive living setting be preferable?

Ensuring a successful transition

Most older adults express a clear and resounding preference to remain in their own homes, but that desire often conflicts with concerns about safety, increased isolation, and resistance to accepting services. Whether it is a local or long-distance move, LifeCare Advocates will guide you through the process of determining what steps you can take to ensure a successful transition to a safer living environment.

Categories: Senior Living