Aging can bring both excitement and worry. After working most of our lives, the idea of retirement means creating new experiences and going on new adventures. Deciding how and where to live during retirement can also become a major decision, and that decision mainly comes down to your health. Ideally, many retirees would like to remain in their own home. However, other options, such as a retirement community or assisted living, may provide the amenities or care that you are looking for to enjoy your retirement.
The Difference Between Retirement Communities and Assisted Living
A retirement community consists of individual housing for those who are 55 and up. Many of the amenities that are offered are similar to those of a hotel or a high-end luxury apartment. These independent living communities offer residents a sense of community while also providing options for onsite dining and entertainment. Many residents of retirement communities are looking for an active lifestyle that can support independent care.
Comparatively, assisted living communities can be similar in many aspects. They promote socialization and are often modeled after typical apartment complexes. In these communities, residents will interact with each other while taking part in group activities such as card games, arts and crafts, game nights, and live entertainment. Additionally, many assisted living communities offer residents the opportunity to design what their care looks like to help maintain a sense of independence.
Level of Care
One of the biggest differences between assisted living facilities and retirement communities is the level of care that is provided.
Residents in retirement communities can independently handle day-to-day activities and can generally care for themselves. Many people who move to these types of communities look for low-maintenance, low-hassle lifestyles.
Assisted living communities offer a greater level of care to their residents who need assistance with daily living. These may include monitoring medications, bathing, dressing, driving, or even managing household chores. Many communities offer different levels of assistance but are staffed 24 hours a day with employees, including medical staff, that are able to assist the residents. Often, these communities provide laundry, transportation, and housekeeping services for their residents as well.
One of the main differences between retirement communities and assisted living facilities is the staffing requirements. A retirement community may not have medical professionals on site as often or regularly as assisted living communities. There will, however, likely be security staff who are there to help in the event of an emergency.
Most assisted living communities, on the other hand, will be staffed with, at minimum, nursing assistants who are overseen by full-time or part-time registered nurses. The certified nursing assistants and other medical assistants will be responsible for the majority of the care. In addition to these highly trained CNAs, assisted living communities will often provide access to regular physician care and other health services like physical and mental therapy.
It is hard to ignore the costs. Most people are correct in assuming that the more care provided to someone, the more expensive it will be. The average cost of assisted living facilities averages about $4,300 per month. However, this cost often includes the staff and amenities provided.
In a retirement community, the monthly costs can range, but average upwards of $1,500 per month. Communities with more upscale amenities are usually more expensive. However, there are other costs associated with retirement communities, much as you would in a home or an apartment. Additionally, depending on the type of retirement community, residents may face an entrance fee that is similar to that of buying a property.
Which Is Right for You?
Determining you or your loved ones’ needs for retirement and beyond is an important conversation to have for everyone involved. Retirement life is meant to be enjoyed, and both retirement and assisted living communities offer amenities that can fit the needs of every type of person.
On one hand, there is independence and a sense of belonging that can be found in a retirement community that is restricted to those with the same lifestyle you have. On the other hand, there is the sense of care and compassion that can be found in an assisted living community. The amenities and staff can help make difficult transitions in life easier. Residents are also surrounded by others who can understand and relate to their experience.
If you or a loved one are looking to make the next move in your retirement and aren’t sure if you would benefit from a retirement community or an assisted living community, contact Rocky Mountain Assisted Living today and our team can help you navigate the decision by evaluating your needs.