“Just because it’s a nursing home, doesn’t mean they’re doomed to be in there forever.”

—Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN

Many families face the difficult decision of choosing the right care setting for their aging loved ones. You may have promised never to place your loved one in a nursing home, yet sometimes a skilled nursing facility is the most appropriate setting for their care needs.

Join us for this episode where we’ll discuss the basics of housing and care options for older adults. I’ll help you understand the differences and what to think about so you can make a smart decision when the time comes.



Active Adult Communities are designed for active, independent older adults 55 and older who can manage their daily lives. These communities provide some maintenance, like lawn care, amenities, possibly even healthcare close by.


Independent Living Facilities are often part of larger retirement communities offering apartments or condos. Ideal for those aged 65 and older, these setups also provide a low-maintenance lifestyle with services like housekeeping and laundry, allowing residents to enjoy a socially active environment without the burdens of maintaining a home.


Assisted Living is for those who need more help with daily activities. Assisted living offers a range of services from basic assistance with medication management to memory care units for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. While these facilities are out-of-pocket, they can provide personalized care to meet varying degrees of need.


Skilled Nursing Care Facilities are for individuals requiring daily skilled nursing care. Often these stays are temporary; primarily for rehabilitation, and are covered by Medicare Part A. The goal is typically to rehabilitate and return to either a less intensive care setting or home. Skilled nursing homes also offer long-term care for those on Medicaid.


CCRCs provide all types of care and housing options, from independent and assisted living to skilled nursing homes. This means residents can stay in the same general area (“campus”) as they age and their care needs change. CCRCs gives residents peace of mind knowing they’ll always have the care they need with more on-site guidance for residents and families for what’s next based on those needs.


Respite Care provides temporary relief for someone caring for a loved one at home, allowing them to take a break or fulfill other obligations while ensuring their loved ones receive professional care.


Rehabilitation Care Facilities are usually found in hospitals and involve intense therapy for people recovering from major health events like surgery or a stroke. These facilities offer more rigorous daily therapy than a regular skilled nursing facility provides (e.g. 6 hours of daily rehab vs. 3 hours respectively).

Remember, choosing the right housing and care option for an older adult is both a responsibility and an opportunity. By understanding the full range of available options and utilizing the resources provided, you can make decisions that honor your loved one’s needs and preferences with confidence and care.


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About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
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