The Best of Senior Living Award showcases top senior living communities stand out for their exceptional care and support of seniors.
Senior living is a term used to describe various housing and care options for older adults.
Today, adults 65 years of age and older have a 70% chance of eventually requiring long-term care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Senior living communities are a solution to this growing need, as they can provide elderly adults with supervision, socialization, and on-site care and assistance.
There are many different types of senior living facilities that provide a maintenance-free lifestyle — from 55+ communities for active seniors, to secure, fully staffed communities for seniors with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. This guide details the wide range of senior living options to help you find the right type of senior living community for your needs.Back to top
Senior living communities fit a diverse range of care needs. It’s best to think about senior living in terms of the level of care that a prospective resident requires. Consider the following senior housing scenarios below.
Active, independent senior living are communities for seniors that can take care of themselves. Active senior living options generally include two different experiences, so it’s important to consider your situation and preferences when comparing the types.
The senior living types below might be a good fit if your loved one does not have complex medical issues but needs some personal care support.
If your loved one has complex medical conditions that require routine care, it may make sense to look at the senior living options below.
It can feel overwhelming for some seniors to move from a lifelong home into a senior living community. Building a new social network and learning a new environment can be stressful, so it can provide stability and reduce stress to only move once.
You may want to consider looking at senior living communities that combine care on a single campus. It’s common for communities with independent living to also have assisted living or memory care offered within the same complex. Some of these communities even have on-site skilled nursing options.
It’s important to note that combined care communities may have a limited scope of care in some cases. It’s a good idea to speak with prospective communities about the care needs for your unique situation.
Continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, offer the full continuum of care on-site from independent living to assisted living and skilled nursing care all on one campus. Some also have memory care wings on-site. These communities ensure that all the care needs of residents are addressed across the full range of possible needs. This enables residents to remain in the same community and just switch care types, should their needs change over time.
However, CCRCs tend to have a large buy-in for new residents. The median buy-in fee is $111,100 at A Place for Mom’s partner communities, according to A Place for Mom’s proprietary data from its brand partners. Buy-in fees may range from $5,000 to more than $1 million. Seniors can potentially cover this cost by selling a home or utilizing retirement funds.
In some cases, a senior may feel it’s best to remain in their home instead of pursuing the community care options listed above. In these cases, in-home care may be the best choice to meet changing care needs. In-home care services can provide necessary help for seniors living alone. There are two types of in-home care services: basic home care and more advanced home health care. Below, we go into the distinctions:
It’s important to note that within the above types of senior living options there are subtypes of communities that provide for specific lifestyles. These might include the following:
Luxury senior living communities are typically located in highly desirable locations, such as downtown in a major metropolitan, on a beachfront property, or with sought after natural views. These communities tend to be at a higher price point because they not only offer a top-tier location, but they also provide more expensive features, such as:
These communities can make it feel like you are on vacation every day in the luxury of a five-star resort. This may be a good fit if you value a more luxe lifestyle.
The senior living industry has recognized the growing need for LGBTQ+ tailored communities across senior living types. These communities typically offer unique features, such as:
Spiritual seniors may be looking for a community that will help foster their religious beliefs. Many center the community experience on faith and fellowship, and may even offer on-site services led by a pastor, priest, rabbi, or other spiritual leader. These specialized religious senior living communities could include the following:
For seniors who wish to live in eco-conscious communities, there are now more options than ever. With the rise of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications, senior living communities are being built with smaller environmental footprints to meet certification standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. These eco-friendly communities may offer the following green features:
A wag of a tail or a soft purr can bring a smile to many people, including older adults. For seniors who have a companion animal, it can be important to bring their four-legged friend with them to their senior living community. A number of communities now offer pet-friendly senior living, but additional fees and breed restrictions may apply.
It’s important to note that service dogs in senior living do not generally fall under the same guidelines as pet animals. Federal laws typically provide specific protections for people with disabilities and their service animals.Back to top
Senior living enhances quality of life for older adults and gives loved ones peace of mind. Communities empower seniors to remain as independent as possible while also supporting their unique needs and personal preferences.
The quality of life benefits of residing in a senior living community include, but are not limited to the listed categories below.
Communities often offer layouts designed for seniors, with environments specially tailored to prevent falls and staff available to assist in the event of emergencies. Additionally, some types of communities may offer a secured environment or have emergency alert systems in seniors’ rooms.
It’s common for senior living communities to offer activities to keep older adults connected to their fellow residents, friends, and family. Communities often host the following types of activities and events:
In addition, communities typically encourage friends and family to visit their loved one throughout the year as a way to maintain important social and familial connections.
The socialization opportunities at senior living communities are key to preventing the negative effects of senior isolation in older adults.
The dining services in senior living communities typically include three nutritious meals per day and snacks. It can give older adults and their families peace of mind to know that these meals are designed to meet seniors’ daily dietary needs and dietary preferences. Even better, senior living communities often work with chefs and dieticians to create their menus.
Communities can generally accommodate the unique dietary needs of those with health conditions. For example, a community might offer adjustments to cater to the following diets:
While communities vary in their offerings, most have staff that handles maintenance, laundry, and housekeeping for residents. This allows older adults to pursue what’s really important to them — spending time with grandchildren, meeting up with friends for coffee, or just enjoying a good book at the community’s on-site bistro.
Additionally, for seniors who no longer feel comfortable getting behind the wheel, many communities offer free or at-cost on-site transportation options. With this service, older adults no longer have to worry about getting into an accident, paying for increasingly expensive car insurance, or dealing with their vehicle in dangerous weather.
Many senior living communities offer professional care planning and care coordination services to help residents maintain their health and wellness. Care planning and coordination is invaluable to seniors who wish to get the most out of on-site care services such as physical therapy, diabetes management, speech therapy, medication management, and much more.
For older adults who need support with activities of daily living (ADLs), a community that offers personal care assistance, such as help with showering, hygiene activities, and incontinence support, may be a good fit.
Senior-friendly on-site fitness classes are also offered at many communities, so active seniors can stay healthy through exercise. A typical fitness class schedule at a senior living community might include things like yoga, chair weightlifting, or water aerobics.Back to top
The cost of senior living depends on several factors, including location, care type, and on-site services and amenities offered.
Some senior living options, like senior apartments, mirror more typical apartment or rental home prices. Others, like assisted living, memory care, and nursing homes, are generally more expensive due to the costs of additional services rolled into the monthly rent.
The figures below represent the monthly median senior living costs across the nation based on data from A Place for Mom’s 2023 Cost of Long-Term Care and Senior Living Report. To fill in some gaps, we’ve also included cost information from Genworth.
|Care type||Median monthly cost|
|Nursing homes, private room||$9,034|
In-home care rates are generally calculated on an hourly basis and hours per month may vary depending on your unique needs. In 2023, the national median costs of homemaker services was $30 per hour, according to A Place for Mom’s proprietary data, while the median for a home health aide was about $28, according to Genworth.Back to top
Whereas senior apartments have similar price points to rent on a regular apartment, other care types may require families to use a variety of funding sources and payment strategies. It can be helpful to understand the following to plan for senior living costs:
In total, families typically use private funds — such as savings or insurance — to cover the costs associated with long-term senior care. However, public pay methods, such as Medicaid and Medicare, may offset some costs depending on your situation.Back to top
To find the right senior living community for yourself or a relative, evaluate your budget and priorities. For example, is your family member highly social, making activities and outings a deciding factor? Do they require a high level of care, meaning employee training and staff-to-resident ratio are most important?
Above all, touring is the best way to choose a senior living facility. In fact, 97% of families took a tour before making a decision, according to A Place for Mom’s family survey. This experience allows you to meet community staff, see the unit your family member would live in, and ask important questions.Back to top
A Place for Mom’s touring guide helps you keep your notes, observations, and questions all in one place. Compare different options with this downloadable resource.Back to top
Start by exploring top-rated senior care near you. Use A Place for Mom’s service to help you find housing and care options. Our local advisors will work with you to better understand your budget, concerns, and questions. From there, you’ll receive a personalized list of the three best senior living communities for you in your area, all at no cost to you.Back to top
Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
The score shown is the overall experience rating which is an average of the reviews submitted for those communities. The overall experience rating is a star rating that ranges from 1 being the lowest to 5 being the highest.
Below are the 51 largest cities grouped by their metropolitan area.
Top states for Assisted Living