What's the Difference?

Up until the 1980s, seniors who could not live safely in their own home or with family had little access to institutional care. Since the 1980s, senior living has developed from adult care homes to a variety of vibrant lifestyles and progression of care options ranging between Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care. We want to make sure you understand the differences between the levels of care as well as the difference between senior living and nursing homes, in order to help you make the best decision for you and your loved one.

Only about 1% of the U.S. population is educated about senior living due to experiencing it firsthand as a family or through working in the industry. Outside of that 1%, when individuals hear the term “senior living,” they may lump all the options into the same category based on their experience.

So, what exactly are the differences between these options when it comes to Commonwealth Senior Living?

Independent Living
This is the perfect lifestyle choice for those who want to maintain their independence and freedom, but want to be free of the worries and responsibilities of home ownership. Choosing to live in one of our communities offers the comfort, convenience and  amenities you want, and also includes many opportunities to be active, engaged, and enjoy a healthy social life. This lifestyle offers the simplified and improved living that our residents deserve. Delicious restaurant-style dining options, weekly housekeeping, maintenance-free living, and access to a variety of engaging programs means you never need to worry about anything but living life to the fullest.

Assisted Living
There may come a time when you are no longer able, or no longer wish to live alone. Normal daily activities such as cleaning, bathing or cooking may become too much for you to safely handle anymore. Assisted Living is an ideal option to provide a balance of personalized support, delivered with dignity, respect, and independence. At Commonwealth Senior Living, you will be able to continue living an active, rewarding lifestyle with support from our associates in managing these daily activities. If safety or quality of life have become a concern, it is time to consider assisted living. With robust and multi-dimensional programming, our residents live a vibrant life focused on doing more want to’s verses have to’s.  Our communities offer the best of both worlds where residents have the independence they desire with the knowledge that personal care and support services are available if and when they need them.  With 5 different levels of care within our Assisted Living, our residents have the peace of mind that their address does not need to change even if the level of support they need does.

Memory Care
Our Sweet Memories program is specifically designed to deliver the highest quality of care, support, and engagement to our residents living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, as well as the safety and security they require. This award-winning program goes above and beyond the standards of care, blending the warm, homelike feeling of our memory care neighborhoods with personalized care delivered by compassionate, specially trained caregivers. Our memory care communities are intentionally designed to be cozy and offer the calm familiarity of routine schedules and consistent staffing with engaging programs and activities. We understand that no two Sweet Memories residents are at the same place in their journey and their needs, abilities, and preferences are unique. We provide person-centered care to ensure each resident enjoys the most appropriate support possible.

Skilled Nursing Facilities/Nursing Homes
Skilled Nursing Facilities are designed for seniors who are no longer able to care for themselves independently, are not mobile without assistance, require  around-the-clock clinical care and medical monitoring due to chronic or deteriorating physical and health conditions, or require extensive rehabilitation following an injury or major surgery. In a more clinical setting, residents receive assistance with all activities of daily living, but primarily need ongoing palliative care. Some recreational activities are provided, but the main focus is on skilled care, safety, and comfort.  Due to the highly skilled care and physician oversight required at Skilled Nursing Facilities, this is the most expensive level of residential care available for seniors.

Today, our seniors are presented with more options than ever before. Understanding the differences between each of these is the next step in deciding which option is right for you or your loved one. For more guidance and support in this process, click the button below to take a free, anonymous assessment that will recommend options that could help based on national research.


If you would like more guidance on finding the right fit for your loved one,
our community’s Sales & Marketing Directors are only a call away.
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