Which Type of Senior Care Is Right for Your Loved One?

Last Updated: December 31, 2018

Are you looking for more intensive senior care for a parent or senior loved one, but don’t know where to start? Before you make a decision, you should take the time to understand what your options are.Which Type of Senior Care Is Right for Your Loved One?

Learn more about the five main types of senior living care available to your family.

The Top 5 Types of Senior Care

There are five main types of senior living care available, each one providing a different level or type of care:

1. Assisted Living

For seniors that need full-time care, you’ll need to consider live-in communities. One of the most common senior living options families go with is assisted living.

What is assisted living?

Assisted living communities have apartments that seniors can rent and still be in close vicinity to full-time staff that helps out with daily tasks of living, like getting dressed and keeping up with their meds. In addition to providing basic care, they also usually offer a number of activities and events for seniors to participate in, to help keep residents active.

How much does assisted living cost?

The national average to live in an assisted living facility is $43,200 a year.

Who is assisted living for?

Seniors that need more help with activities of daily living (ADLs) than loved ones can consistently provide.

To learn more, you can search for assisted living communities in your area.

2. Home Health Care

According to an AARP survey, 87% of seniors have said they hope to age in place. The biggest difficulty they face in doing so is being able to get the care they need within their own home.

What is home health care?

In-home care is when caregiving professionals come to you. Someone will come to your loved one’s house as often as you need and help your loved one with tasks like getting ready in the morning and making sure they take all their meds at the right time.

What does home health care cost?

The national average for a home health aid is $46,332 a year.

Who is home health care for? 

Home health care is the best option for seniors who either need minimal help with tasks of daily living or have a family member who can help out during some parts of the day and need someone to fill in during the hours when they’re working or otherwise occupied.

To learn more, you can search for home health care companies in your area.

3. Memory Care

Loved ones caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia know that they need care that’s even more specialized than the kind available at nursing homes.

What is memory care?

Memory care is provided by staff that are specially trained to take care of seniors that have Alzheimer’s. Some assisted living communities specialize in providing memory care as well.

What does memory care cost?

The average cost of living in a memory care facility is about $60,000 a year.

Who is memory care for?

Seniors with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.

To learn more, search Alzheimer’s care options in your area.

4. Nursing Home

Seniors with serious medical concerns sometimes need more care than assisted living communities can provide. For seniors who need consistent medical care, a nursing home should be considered.

What is a nursing home?

Nursing homes are another type of live-in community but are unique by promising full-time medical staff. Seniors stay in either private or shared rooms and receive help both with activities and daily living and any medical needs they have.

What do nursing homes cost?

The national average for a private room in a nursing home is $92,387, while the cost for a shared one is $82,125.

Who are nursing homes for?

Seniors with significant medical needs.

To learn more, search for nursing homes in your area.

5. Senior Day Care

In-home care isn’t the only option you have that’s compatible with aging in place. Adult day care centers do require leaving the house, but they offer some of the same types of care that home health care providers do. In addition, they provide an opportunity for seniors to stay active and social.

What is adult day care?

Adult day care is a place you can drop your parent or senior loved one off at for a few hours each day and trust that they’ll be in the care of professionals who can help with their basic needs. Your loved one will also get the chance to be around other seniors and enjoy activities and games that encourage social interaction. 

What does senior day care cost?

The national average for adult day care is $17,680 a year.

Who is adult day care for?

Senior day care is a good option for families that are able to help care for seniors a lot of the time but want to know they’ll be safe and taken care of during the day while you’re off at work. They’re cheaper than home health care or communities your loved one would live in full time but can help provide similar care part-time.

Ways to Choose the Right Type of Senior Care for Your Family

Understanding the different senior care options available is the best place to start figuring out what type of care to get for your loved one, but it doesn’t make the decision for you.

Here are a few additional steps to help you find the right solution for your family:

Discuss your options with your senior loved one.

Naturally, the preferences of your parent or senior loved one should be taken into consideration as well. It’s possible they’ll be resistant to the level of care they need, but you should do your best to include them in the decision making for as long as possible before reaching that point.

Talk to local communities and home care companies.

Research the options available in your area. Talk to representatives from the main ones you’re interested in about the specifics of what they offer and what your loved one needs. They’ll let you know if your loved one’s care needs exceed what they provide.

Talk to your doctor.

Your loved one’s doctor can help you understand both what level of care your loved one needs now, along with what they’ll likely need within the next few years. Often the best solution to choose now will be one that will continue to work for years to come – you don’t want your loved one to have to hop from one community to another. The recommendation of a trusted physician can make your decision a bit easier.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for SeniorAdvisor.com.


  1. Sarah Miklich February 8, 2017 Reply

    Great post with useful information! There are many options available from which normal people can easily choose. But before sending your elder to a place that’s totally unknown for them, the family members should consider many things. Like, they should meet the doctor personally and get to know their nature, personality and work skills. There should be awareness about staff with whom the patient will spend their time with. The place should feel safe and even better than home. It should provide activities, food and care.
    People should discuss with other family members and talk with the patients too to consider the drawbacks and benefits of a senior care facility before making any decisions.

  2. LNWeaver April 24, 2017 Reply

    That’s good to know that assisted living works for people who need slightly more care than their family can provide. Some people just need a little help in their day to day. I might have to go that route with my grandma; she makes me nervous for her safety sometimes.

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