The Monarch Blog

What is a Retirement Community?

Realizing a loved one needs long-term care is never easy. Knowing more about what your options are can make the entire process of choosing a community that suits your aging relative’s needs a little easier.

Quick research will reveal that there are many kinds of retirement communities, each one offering something different. The questions you need to answer are: Just what can a retirement community offer you or your family member? And which type of community is the best fit for your family’s unique situation?

Types of Retirement Living Communities

Retirement community is a broad term that encompasses many types of communities designed for older adults; no two senior living communities are the same. That said, there are several popular styles of communities that you will likely encounter during your exploration of long-term care.

Independent Living Communities

Independent living (IL) communities might be what many people assume are "retirement communities." That is to say that these communities are basically just communal living locations designed exclusively for older adults, where residents no longer have to worry about responsibilities like home upkeep, maintenance, and chores.

Unlike many other varieties of senior living communities, independent senior living is for active older adults who want to live with their peers. This desire for community is the primary reason these communities exist; they do not exist to provide extensive care to residents, although many do offer to take care of basic household chores to free up residents' time for other activities. In short, independent living residents do not need help with daily activities or require around-the-clock care.

At Monarch Communities®, our independent senior living residents have it all: the freedom to do what they want, when they want, without worrying about the hassle of housekeeping and home maintenance. Some of the exceptional amenities our independent living residents enjoy include:

  • Cafés, pubs, and bistros
  • Full-service salons, barber shops, and spas
  • Well-staffed fitness centers
  • Greenhouses and gardens
  • Rooftop decks
  • Walking trails

Care-free senior living awaits you or your loved one at one of our independent senior living locations. Be sure to find one that suits your lifestyle today!

Perfect For:

  • Active and engaged seniors
  • Older adults who enjoy living with or near others
  • Seniors who want to forgo housekeeping and home maintenance duties

Pros

  • Resident independence
  • Variety of flexible floor plans, many with handicap accessibility
  • Reduced stress thanks to maintenance-free living
  • Community living offers an emotional boost
  • Reduced isolation thanks to being surrounded by attentive staff and new friends
  • Many are pet-friendly

Cons

  • Not covered under Medicare or Medicaid
  • Usually private pay only

Pros

Cons

  • Not covered by Medicare
  • Can be expensive if not covered by insurance

Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities are for older adults who require some personal care services from caregivers. These services typically come in the form of help with activities of daily living (ADLs), which include daily activities like bathing, getting dressed, and managing medications.

In addition to assistance with ADLs, these communities often also offer a calendar full of wellness and social activities. Monarch Senior Living offers the following perks for our assisted living residents:

  • Move-in coordination services
  • Al fresco dining
  • Community outings
  • Beauty salons, spas, and barber shops
  • A full activity calendar
  • Book clubs
  • And more

We offer a variety of floor plans, including pet-friendly and companion suites, so that everyone can find their perfect match, from couples to single adults to pet parents. Even better, many of our communities offer short-term respite care for family caregivers needing a well-deserved break.

Perfect For:

  • Couples
  • Seniors who only need help with ADLs
  • Older pet owners
  • Family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties

Memory Care Communities

Memory care communities are for people living with conditions that affect memory and cognition, such as those with Alzheimer's disease; this fact is why these communities are often called special care or dementia care communities. They can refer to either a section of a larger senior care community or a location dedicated entirely to those living with cognitive issues. Floor plans at these locations are oftentimes simple to promote stability, familiarity, and security for residents.

Our communities offer residents amenities that include the following:

  • Concierge services
  • Delicious meals for visiting families
  • Butterfly gardens
  • Active community centers
  • Wellness centers
  • Secure outdoor terraces and walkways
  • Gorgeous lounges

Staff at Monarch's memory care communities understand that not every day will be easy. That is why they take extra care to learn who each resident really is. What they like. What they dislike. What their history is. That way, when a resident has a hard day, our staff members really know how to connect with and sympathize with her in a way that is truly genuine. We never lose sight of the unique individuals our community members are–no matter what stage of their condition they are in–and that makes our community stronger.

Perfect For:

  • People living with conditions like dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease

Pros

  • Peace of mind for families
  • Safe and secure environment

Cons

  • Can be expensive if not covered by insurance
  • Less freedom than other types of senior living

Pros

  • Support services many people need
  • 24/7 care
  • Medicare covers short-term stays

Cons

  • Can be expensive if insurance doesn't cover it
  • Less freedom than other communities

Skilled Nursing Care Communities/Nursing Homes

What many people know as "nursing homes" are technically "skilled nursing care communities." As the name implies, these communities offer skilled nurse care, access to a wide array of healthcare services, and around-the-clock support for residents. In addition to accepting residents who require extensive long-term care services, these communities also frequently accept short-term residents who require rehabilitation services.

Perfect For:

  • Long-term, 24/7 care
  • Short-term rehabilitation

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

It's common for people's needs to change as they age. These changes often mean moving to a senior care community that can accommodate these needs... unless you are staying at a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). Unlike many other kinds of senior care communities, a CCRC is a retirement community offering easy access to various levels of care in one location, so that people can age in a single spot.

While CCRCs are convenient, this convenience comes at a cost. These communities often require high upfront costs in the form of entrance fees. Furthermore, while many offer various pricing tiers (e.g., life care, modified, pay as you go), even regular monthly fees can be quite high. If money is not an issue, however, these communities can be perfect for older adults who crave stability during their golden years.

Perfect For:

  • People who want to age in place

Pros

  • Long-term stability
  • Strong sense of community

Cons

  • High upfront cost
  • Many do not offer full or even partial refunds

When is Retirement Living a Good Idea?

There is no set age for when someone needs to make the move to retirement living; that time is different for everyone! That said, the following instances are good indicators that senior living could be a good move:

  • Wanting to live in on a campus
  • Needing assistance with ADLs
  • Wanting to forgo housekeeping and home-owning responsibilities
  • Progressing dementia, Parkinson's disease, or similar condition
  • Needing 24/7 support and care

Senior Living, the Monarch Way

Monarch Communities® are for everyone—we offer independent living, memory care, and assisted living options that help older adults and their families achieve peace of mind and freedom from mundane things like chores.

Plan for your retirement

Retirement planning is no fun, but it is likely far easier than you imagine! Download our financial planning brochure to learn more and plan for your future today.

Download brochure

Resident Testimonials

"Making the decision to move here was not an easy one. But it was the right one. Now I can focus on me. My health and well being. My happiness. I have met so many wonderful new friends. I am busy playing bridge, walking club, and even learning Italian in language class!"

Anne T., Monarch resident

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See why thousands of seniors and their families trust us for all their senior living needs. We look forward to meeting you!

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