Skip to Content

6 Different Levels of Senior Care

According to reports, over 54 million adults around the age of 65 and older live in the United States today, accounting for almost 16.5% of the nation’s population. Note that about 3% of them are finding themselves in full-time residential care.

Millions of Americans are balancing family, work, and caring for aging parents, and it can be quite challenging for adult children to provide the necessary care required to guarantee safety and quality of life for their aging loved ones. Have it in mind that a good number of adult children work as professionals and genuinely do not have the time to devote to the care of a parent.

Some also have to deal with the guilt of not being able to provide the needed care on their own. However, helping an aging parent analyze their options and obtain the right level of care is an equally crucial contribution to the situation.

Having a thorough understanding of the level of care and costs associated with each choice is very necessary to find the right fit for every situation. You have to understand that not all seniors have the same needs, and allowing different levels of care gives room for flexibility.

Some seniors may be more comfortable at home with just a little amount of help, while some may need specialists with experience perfectly suited for their situation. If you are thinking of moving your loved one into senior care, below is a simple breakdown of different levels of care to consider.

Different Levels of Senior Care

  1. Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are long-term care facilities for elderly people who are entirely dependent on caregivers. Seniors at these homes will get full-time medical care and meal plans well-tailored to suit their diets. The staff is often made up largely of medical professionals such as doctors and nurses.

  • Pros: These care facilities can provide a high level of care and can be perfectly suited for rehabilitation. Long-term care insurance may cover some costs and they are known to have better government regulation.
  • Cons: These homes are known to have a hospital setting. Also, note that Medicare is limited in what it pays for. It can quickly eat up private financial resources.
  • Costs: Ranges from $8,000-$12,000 per month; Daily Rate: $266-$400
  1. Assisted Living

Also known as personal care homes, these care facilities are suited for seniors who are not capable of living safely on their own but are not so dependent that they need the high level of care found in nursing homes. Note that those in these facilities enjoy the private apartment settings that come with a small kitchen area, though the three main meals are provided in a central dining area. Also note that staff is available 24/7 to offer assistance with meals, medications, housekeeping, and other activities of daily living. Other services offered may include licensed nursing services, social and entertainment activities, and scheduled transportation. Most communities require private pay.

  • Pros: These facilities look like retirement homes with extra personal care services. Residents tend to get private apartments and they offer a community of people to prevent isolation.
  • Cons: They most often do not handle complex medical conditions and most will only accept private-pay or Long-Term Care Insurance, and some Medicaid.
  • Costs: Base Rate: Cost of the room (Studio, 1 or 2 bedroom), Private Apt.: $3,500-$4,000
  1. In-Home Care

This option is primarily for seniors who prefer to remain in their own homes, but still need help with daily activities. This is a popular option as most seniors prefer to stay in their own homes as they age.

These seniors can get help with mobility, meal preparation, hygiene, medication reminders, basic housekeeping, keeping track of appointments, transportation, and companionship. When necessary, a live-in caregiver will make available 24-hour care to assist the senior.

  • Pros: The client can get the care they need in the comfort of their home. They can also maximize decision-making and independence. Care is adjustable and can be used for just a few hours a week to 24-hour live-in care.
  • Cons: Medicare coverage is conditional and limited. Also, note that this is the most expensive level of care.
  • Costs: Average costs through an agency. Private caregivers are not necessary; Companion: $22/hr., CAN (Certified Nursing Assistant) $25-$27/hr.; LPN: $38/hr. RN: $48-55/hr.
  1. Independent living communities

These communities see to the needs of seniors and retirees that are independent with few medical problems. Seniors in these facilities live in fully equipped apartments that range in size from a studio to two bedrooms.

They get the option of having a meal package similar to those accorded on college campuses. There are various social outings available throughout the community to pick from, and this can be beneficial as the happiest retirees engage in three to four activities regularly.

  • Pros: These communities are full of active people with an independent lifestyle. They are known to provide safety, security, privacy and there is no need for maintenance in the home or on its grounds.
  • Cons: There is no medical care provided and they may have limited or no support. Residents are expected to be healthy, and completely independent.
  • Costs: Private Pay Only. Purchase Prices: $150k-$1 Million; Private Apartments: $1,200-$3,500
  1. Memory Care

These facilities are quite similar to assisted living but are specifically made for residents that are the most vulnerable. They are meant for Senior citizens who suffer from disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia who may not be able to be cared for by family members in a home environment.

Memory care facilities feature 24-hour support by trained professionals, and they make available the structure and stability that people who are suffering from these disorders can benefit from.

  • Pros: These facilities have a high staff-to-resident ratio and staff are very well trained. It is also a secure environment and provides care in a closely supervised setting with private or semi-private rooms.
  • Costs: Room rates plus service level; Private: $3,500-$8,000 per month; semi-private: $3,500-$4,500
  1. Residential Care

These facilities more or less operate as group homes for the elderly. These homes are staffed with live-in caretakers or a 24-hour rotating staff of workers to ensure there is always a specialized caretaker available at all times. Note that these caretakers are available to help residents with any day-to-day needs that the resident might have issues with.

They also offer medication management and nursing, depending on the facility. Since they are most often private, it may feel more independent for seniors who don’t need a higher level of care.

  • Pros: Seniors will enjoy a small home-like atmosphere with a maximum of 6 persons per home.
  • Cons: Well arranged fun activities may be non-existent. Also, note that their ability to meet increasing care needs may be limited. Some are small and this entails that living space is small.
  • Costs: Costs vary massively depending on the level of care needed and the type of room. Private Room: $3,500-$8,000/ Month. Semi-Private Room: $3,500-$4,500/ month.

As you look to make the best decision for your loved one, ensure you consult people you trust about their experiences with long-term care in your community. Note that understanding the senior housing options, services, locations, and amenities available near you will ensure every care need of your loved one is met in a safe and reliable environment.