The senior living industry is full of jargon and terms that most people aren’t familiar with until they need to be. However, if you begin to search for senior living options here in the Teaneck area, you may not know exactly how to start. It’s great news for older adults that there are so many options and solutions available for retirement; it can just be overwhelming at first until you begin to understand the jargon a bit better.

Many seniors and their family members begin by thinking that all senior living communities are the same. This is a myth. Senior living communities differ based on the care they offer to their residents. It can be helpful to begin by learning the differences between independent living versus nursing homes.

What Is a Nursing Home?

A few decades ago, it was common for the term “nursing home” to be applied to any type of senior living community. If seniors lived there, it was a “nursing home.” Fortunately, that is definitely no longer the case. In fact, the term nursing home is mostly defunct.

Nowadays, nursing homes are commonly referred to as skilled nursing facilities and are licensed communities that offer complex medical care to seniors with various needs. Skilled nursing communities, for example, can be the ideal place for a senior who just had hip surgery or is recovering from an extended stay in a hospital to regain their strength before heading home. Skilled nursing facilities typically offer both short- and long-term care, and can be appropriate for a senior who has chronic pain, complex medical conditions, significant mobility challenges, or other issues that require consistent medical management.

What Is Independent Living?

If you look at senior living as a continuum of care, a skilled nursing facility is on one the end of the continuum as care increases. By contrast, independent living is on the opposite side. Independent living communities are designed to provide an active and social lifestyle for the vibrant older adults who live there.

Independent living communities do not offer the 24-hour nursing staff that skilled nursing facilities do. Instead, independent living communities offer a lifestyle designed for senior wellness and offer access to services and resources that are meant to keep their residents physically healthy and cognitively sharp.

Have questions about independent living? Download our Everything You Need to  Know About Independent Living guide.

Independent Living vs. Nursing Homes

Independent living communities are designed for older adults who are seeking socialization, a calendar of daily activities to choose from, and the peace of mind that comes with living among peers. Residents of independent living communities enjoy housekeeping services and can say goodbye to household tasks like mowing the lawn or power-washing their house’s siding. Instead, they can enjoy resort-style living that often includes access to scheduled transportation, chef-prepared meals in a dining room on campus, and even concierge services.

Skilled nursing facilities are designed for a more clinical purpose. These communities, though they are still much more homelike than they were just a few years ago, are more similar to hospitals. Busy nursing stations, electronic medical charts, medication carts, and hospital beds are the standard.

It is important to note that independent living residents still have excellent access to healthcare resources. Residents have the opportunity to participate in health fairs or other activities that focus on senior wellness as well as preventing major health crises.

Which Is Best for You?

When it comes to independent living versus nursing homes, which is best for you? You are an excellent candidate for independent living if some of these statements apply to you:

  • You feel a bit lonely at home and wish you had friends nearby.
  • You are confident in your ability to manage your own medications.
  • You are tired of maintaining your home and are ready to downsize space and responsibility.
  • You’d love the option to skip preparing your own lunch and head somewhere nearby for a delicious meal with friends instead.
  • You would feel better knowing that someone will always check in on you if they haven’t seen you for a while.

Learn more about the ins and outs of independent living by downloading our free guide, “Everything You Need to Know About Independent Living.” Discover more information about costs, the transition, and how to navigate the decision process.

At Arbor Terrace Teaneck, our independent living residents enjoy more than just spacious apartments and a resort-style community. They enjoy a network of peers and neighbors, access to wellness resources, and activities that enrich their daily lives. We would love to show you our community in action. Call us today to set up a personalized tour or to schedule a meal in our dining room.

Download Our Guide on Independent Living