Finding the Right Fit: Navigating Different Levels of Senior Care

March 19, 2024

Family navigates levels of senior care looking at ipad

As our Mom, Dad or family member age, it’s common for their care needs to change. Navigating the various levels of senior care can be overwhelming, but understanding the options available is crucial for ensuring your loved one’s well-being. 

 In this guide, we’ll dive into each level of care— independent living, assisted living, nursing home, short-term/rehabilitation, and memory care— and discuss signs that may indicate it’s time to consider moving into that level of care.  

Independent Living

Two seniors laughing and reviewing tips to senior living care level

Independent living communities are designed for active older adults who seek a maintenance-free lifestyle in a supportive environment.  

Residents in independent living enjoy private apartments or cottages equipped with essential amenities, such as kitchens or kitchenettes, bathrooms, and living areas. 

 These communities offer a range of services and amenities designed to enhance residents’ quality of life while promoting autonomy and social engagement. 

Benefits of Independent Living:

  • Maintenance-free lifestyle: Seniors can enjoy freedom from the burdens of homeownership, such as yard work, repairs, and housekeeping. 
  • Social engagement: Independent living communities offer opportunities for residents to connect with peers through shared interests, activities, and events, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness. 
  • Active lifestyle: With access to amenities and social activities, residents can stay physically and mentally active, promoting overall health and well-being. 
  • Sense of community: Independent living fosters a supportive community environment where residents can build friendships, participate in group activities, and enjoy a sense of belonging. 
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that assistance and support are available if needed provides residents and their families with peace of mind and reassurance. 

Assisted Living 

Seniors playing cards around table navigating assisted living

Assisted living offers a supportive environment for seniors who require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) but still desire independence.  

These communities provide personalized care plans tailored to each resident’s needs, offering assistance with tasks such as bathing, dressing, medication management, and transportation. In addition to caregiving support, assisted living typically includes amenities such as housekeeping, laundry services, chef-prepared meals, social activities, and transportation services for outings and appointments.  

Residents benefit from 24/7 access to trained caregivers, ensuring help is available whenever needed. 

Signs Your Loved One May Benefit from Assisted Living: 

  • Difficulty managing daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, or meal preparation 
  • Forgetfulness or confusion leading to safety concerns 
  • Increased reliance on family members or caregivers for assistance 
  • Isolation or withdrawal from social activities due to mobility limitations or safety concerns 
  • Safety hazards in the home environment, such as falls or accidents 

Understanding Assisted Living Costs 

The cost of assisted living can vary depending on factors such as location, level of care needed, and amenities provided. On average, assisted living communities in the United States range from $3,000 to $7,000 per month.  

This cost typically includes room and board, assistance with ADLs, social activities, and some healthcare services. Additional fees may apply for specialized care needs, medication management, or extra amenities. 

 It’s essential to research and compare pricing options to find a community that fits your budget and meets your loved one’s needs. 

Nursing Home

In some circumstances, care needs may become more complex, necessitating a higher level of support and supervision.  

Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, provide comprehensive medical care and rehabilitation services for seniors with chronic health conditions, disabilities, or complex care needs. 

When Does an Older Adult Need to Move to a Nursing Home? 

Moving to a nursing home is often considered when an older adult requires round-the-clock medical supervision, assistance with daily activities, or specialized care that cannot be provided at home or in other senior living settings.  

Some situations where a nursing home may be appropriate include: 

  • Complex Medical Needs: Seniors with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or respiratory disorders may require ongoing medical monitoring, skilled nursing care, and medication management that exceed the capabilities of other care settings. 
  • Rehabilitation After Hospitalization: Following a hospital stay for surgery, illness, or injury, seniors may require intensive rehabilitation services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy to regain strength, mobility, and independence. 
  • Cognitive Impairment: Individuals with advanced dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other forms of cognitive impairment may benefit from the specialized care and secure environment provided by nursing homes equipped to manage complex behavioral and medical needs. 
  • Safety Concerns: Seniors at risk of falls, wandering, or self-neglect due to mobility limitations, cognitive decline, or chronic health conditions may require the 24/7 supervision and assistance available in a nursing home setting. 

By understanding the signs indicating that a nursing home may be necessary, families can make informed decisions about the most appropriate level of care for their loved ones’ well-being. 


When seniors experience a medical event such as surgery, illness, or injury, short-term rehabilitation can play a crucial role in helping them regain strength, mobility, and independence.  

Short-term rehabilitation facilities offer intensive therapy and medical care in a supportive environment designed to facilitate recovery and improve functional abilities. 

When Do You Need Short-Term/Rehabilitation? 

Short-term rehabilitation may be necessary for seniors who require focused therapy and medical care following a hospitalization or medical event. Some common scenarios where short-term rehabilitation may be beneficial include: 

  1. Orthopedic Surgery: Seniors undergoing joint replacement surgery, such as hip or knee replacement, may require physical therapy and rehabilitation to regain mobility, strength, and function. 
  1. Stroke Recovery: Individuals recovering from a stroke may benefit from intensive therapy to address physical impairments, such as weakness, balance issues, and coordination problems. 
  1. Cardiac Event: Seniors who have experienced a cardiac event, such as a heart attack or heart surgery, may require cardiac rehabilitation to improve cardiovascular fitness, manage risk factors, and prevent future heart-related complications. 
  1. Traumatic Injury: Seniors recovering from traumatic injuries, such as fractures, spinal cord injuries, or traumatic brain injuries, may require rehabilitation services to promote healing, restore function, and maximize independence. 
  1. Debility: Seniors experiencing generalized weakness, deconditioning, or functional decline due to prolonged illness, hospitalization, or inactivity may benefit from rehabilitation to regain strength, endurance, and mobility. 

What’s Included in Short-Term/Rehabilitation? 

Short-term rehabilitation programs typically include a combination of therapies and medical services tailored to each individual’s needs and goals. 

 Key components of rehabilitation may include: 

  • Physical Therapy: Exercises and treatments designed to improve mobility, strength, balance, and coordination. 
  • Occupational Therapy: Activities and strategies to enhance independence in activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing, grooming, and cooking. 
  • Speech Therapy: Techniques to improve communication, swallowing, and cognitive skills for individuals with speech or language disorders. 
  • Medical Management: Oversight and management of medical conditions, medications, and post-operative care by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. 
  • Rehabilitation Nursing: Skilled nursing care and support to address medical needs, monitor progress, and ensure safety during therapy sessions. 

Before pursuing short-term rehabilitation, it’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals, such as doctors or physical therapists, to determine if this level of care is the right option for your loved one’s needs.  

Healthcare professionals can assess the individual’s medical condition, functional status, and rehabilitation potential to make informed recommendations and develop a personalized care plan.  

Memory Care

Seniors around table socializing navigating memory Care

Memory care communities specialize in providing specialized support and services for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other memory-related conditions.  

These communities offer secure environments, specialized programming, and personalized care plans to enhance quality of life and promote cognitive well-being. 

Types of Memory Impairment Diseases: 

  1. Alzheimer’s: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for most cases. It is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behavior, eventually impairing the individual’s ability to carry out daily activities independently. 
  1. Vascular Dementia: Vascular dementia results from damage to blood vessels in the brain, often caused by strokes or other conditions that reduce blood flow to the brain. It is characterized by cognitive decline, particularly in executive function, memory, and judgment. 
  1. Lewy Body Dementia: Lewy body dementia is a progressive brain disorder characterized by abnormal protein deposits (Lewy bodies) in the brain. It can cause a range of cognitive, motor, and psychiatric symptoms, including fluctuations in alertness, visual hallucinations, and movement disorders. 
  1. Frontotemporal Dementia: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a group of disorders characterized by progressive damage to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. It often presents with changes in behavior, personality, and language, rather than memory impairment initially. 

What’s Included in Memory Care:

Memory care communities offer specialized services and amenities designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with memory impairment diseases.  

Key components of memory care may include: 

  • Secure Environment: Memory care communities are equipped with secure entrances, alarmed doors, and other safety features to prevent wandering and ensure the safety of residents. 
  • Personalized Care Plans: Each resident receives a personalized care plan tailored to their individual needs, preferences, and abilities. Care plans may include assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), medication management, and behavioral interventions. 
  • Cognitive Stimulation: Memory care programs incorporate activities and therapies designed to engage residents’ minds, promote cognitive function, and enhance quality of life. These activities may include reminiscence therapy, music therapy, art therapy, and sensory stimulation. 
  • Skilled Staff: Memory care communities are staffed with trained caregivers who specialize in caring for individuals with memory impairment diseases. Staff receive ongoing education and training to enhance their understanding of dementia care best practices. 
  • Family Support: Memory care communities offer support and resources for family members, including educational programs, support groups, and communication channels to stay informed about their loved one’s care and well-being. 

By understanding the different types of memory impairment diseases, what’s typically included in memory care, and signs indicating that memory care may be necessary, families can make informed decisions about the best level of care for their loved one’s cognitive and emotional well-being. 

Talk to a Senior Living Expert  

At The Mann House communities, we understand that finding the right level of care is essential for your loved one’s health and happiness. 

 Our assisted living and memory care services are guided by the Salus™ wellness philosophy and our Valeo™ Memory Care neighborhood, providing personalized care plans and supportive environments tailored to each resident’s needs. 

 Our dedicated team is here to help you take the first step towards senior living by providing personalized wellness reviews and guidance throughout the decision-making process. We have two convenient locations near Atlanta, Georgia: The Mann House Sandy Springs and The Mann House Cumming. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your loved one on their senior living journey.