Senior Living Options: Aging-in-Place, Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Nursing Homes

Older adults in a senior facility

Fortunately for seniors, there are several different living options available that offer a wide array of living arrangements and services. When assessing the various options, consider the financial costs, the assistance needs of your parents, and their personal preferences.

senior living options

Here we will describe the different possibilities to help you and your parents find the one that best suits their needs.


The aging-in-place is where older adults live in their own home or with a family member. This option is ideal for those who are mostly independent and want to stay involved in their community such as volunteering or the local senior center.

Aging-in-place can be supplemented with assistance, from home care services to meal or grocery delivery. This option is the least expensive because of the minimal help needed.

Independent Living Community  

Independent senior living communities offer private apartments or duplexes within a community. Like aging-in-place, this option is for those who are self-sufficient but would like consistent help on daily tasks.
Services that a community may provide include:

  • routine housekeeping
  • home maintenance
  • laundry
  • meal preparation

Family caregivers might find this helpful because they do not have to coordinate these services anymore. In addition, this environment allows older adults to have a lot of social interaction through activities coordinated by the community.

Assisted Living Community  

Assisted living communities are like independent living communities but provide another level of care: health care. Services they provide may include managing medication and personal care tasks like eating and using the restroom.

In case of emergency, staff is accessible 24 hours a day. However, residents in assisted living communities still have privacy, autonomy, and independence.

This option is for older adults who need some assistance with daily living, but do not need round-the-clock attention.

‍Nursing Home  

Nursing homes provide the most care to their residents. These facilities are for older adults who need 24 hours of supervision and need medical assistance.

This option is the best fit for those who have disabilities that prevent them from living on their own or chronic conditions and need consistent therapy.

Out of all the options, this is the most expensive because of the expertise of the staff and the level of care provided.

The more you involve your parents and other close family members in the decision on living options, the easier the transition will be.

These communities are designed to help empower seniors and maintain as much of their independence as possible for as long as possible. Being informed about the different living options for older adults is essential to every family caregiver.

Jason Gottschalk is the chief editor for Revercare. He has a passion for working with older adults. He currently runs a nonprofit senior services company in metropolitan Washington, D.C. Prior to this, he was the Executive Director of a large retirement community and cofounded a technology company which developed senior support artificial intelligence, both in metro D.C.