Retirement Community Living: Coming to Terms with the Terms

Posted by Jim Coumbs on May 10, 2011 8:39:00 AM

best seattle retirement communityPosted by Jim Coumbs, General Manager

If you’ve begun looking at retirement community living for yourself or for a loved one you may feel a little bit out of your element. You’re not alone! There’s a whole new vocabulary associated with retirement living. Here are a few definitions that can help you sort through retirement community information. You may find some slight variations in terms from community to community—but this will give you a good start.

Activities of Daily Living. Sometimes referred to as ADL’s, Activities of Daily Living include the key activities that we do as part of our normal day. These include such things as dressing, bathing, eating, walking, cooking and house cleaning.

Adult Family Home. Adult Family Homes are residential homes licensed to care for elderly or disabled residents. They provide room, board, laundry, and necessary supervision, assistance with activities of daily living, and social services. Nursing services are sometimes available.

Assessment. Determination of a resident's care needs based on an evaluation of the resident's physical and psychological condition and ability to perform activities of daily living. Daystar performs these assessments, but we also focus on the social, intellectual, spiritual, emotional and vocational parts of our residents’ being.

Assisted Living.  With their wide range of services, assisted living communities provide a senior housing solution for adults who need some assistance to maintain their independence. Assisted living facilities provide assistance with activities of daily living like bathing, grooming, eating, etc. Most assisted living communities and assisted living homes offer licensed nurses on staff, medication assistance, and 24-hour observation of health status.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). A CCRC is a housing community that provides everything from independent living to assisted living to nursing care. CCRCs, sometimes also called life care communities, typically require a significant down payment in addition to monthly service fees. However, in return, the person knows he or she will have access to nursing care in the CCRC if needed.

Independent Living. Independent living is frequently referred to as retirement communities, retirement homes, senior apartments, or senior housing. Independent living housing options offer a sense of community and numerous levels of service, such as laundry and housekeeping. Many independent living communities offer a range of social events and outings as well. Additional offerings include meal plans, fitness facilities, grounds keeping and household maintenance.

Memory Care. Specially designed supportive housing for people living with the challenges of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Respite Care. Scheduled short-term care provided on a temporary basis to an individual who needs this level of care but who is normally cared for through home and community-based services. It provides relief for caregivers while providing proper care for the individual.

Skilled Nursing Care. Refers to the type of daily nursing and rehabilitative care that can be performed only by, or under the supervision of, skilled licensed medical personnel.

Obviously this isn’t a comprehensive list of retirement community terms. As you research and review information about a retirement facility for yourself or a loved one, we’d be happy to clarify information or terms you come across—whether it pertains to Daystar or not. Please contact us at: We’d be delighted to help!

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Tags: West Seattle Senior Living

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