6 Different Types of Senior Living

Approaching the idea of senior living can be intimidating for some. There are so many types of senior living. It can be hard to parse through them all and figure out which one is best for you or a loved one.

What are the different types of senior living? Do I value independence? Are the meals good? What about medical care? These are questions you should be asking. However, the answer largely depends on the type of senior living you choose and what facility you select.

While the types of senior living come in many forms, they can be broken down into general categories that simplify the options. 

Here at Saint Ann Retirement Center, we’ve identified the different types of senior living available, which needs and values these types can satisfy, and their pros and cons.

Did you know there are Different Types of Senior Living

What are the different types of senior living?

1. 55+ Communities

A 55+ community is the gateway to a senior living community. This option resembles the living you or a loved one has experienced thus far.

A 55+ community, for example, can be a neighborhood of homes where all the residents are at least 55 years old or older. There may be some community amenities, like a swimming pool, fitness center, or in some cases, a golf course!

A 55+ community can also be an apartment complex with similar amenities that you may see in other apartments, like a fitness center, lobby, media room, etc.

You don’t have to worry about noisy families or rowdy teenagers in a 55+ community. Everyone is on the same wavelength. 

Who are 55 communities ideal for?

55+ communities are ideal for active seniors above 55 who want to live around like-aged people while maintaining a daily lifestyle similar to what they’re used to.

  • Sometimes gated
  • Community amenities
  • Like-aged neighbors
  • Well-kept landscapes
  • Your own home or apartment
  • Traditional home upkeep is up to you
  • No medical or memory care staff
  • HOA fees

2. Independent Living

Independent living is the next tier of senior living. Independent living communities resemble a 55+ community, but independent living is almost exclusively in apartment-style residences.

You’re around similarly aged people, but independent living residents tend to be older on average than 55+ community residents.

Independence is a critical component of independent living. Of course, you do not have to participate in anything, but it is encouraged!

Independent living residences offer meals, daily activities, and social events to engage you. In addition, some independent living residences offer a nursing staff that can assist when needed, though they are often not specialized.

Who is independent living for?

Independent living is for someone who wants to be in a community of similar people with the option to participate in community activities while having closer access to living assistance when needed.

  • Social activities
  • Meals
  • Nurses-on-demand
  • You may be paying for things you don’t want/need
  • Not a comprehensive medical care environment

3. Assisted Living

Of all the types of senior living, assisted living could be the right one for you. Assisted living resembles independent living but focuses much more on hands-on assistance. 

Nurses at an assisted living community are usually skilled, and there is typically an on-call or visiting physician. Daily living is more structured to fit your medical and personal wellness needs. 

For example, you may have planned-out physical therapy sessions. In addition, a medical worker may monitor your diet to fulfill nutrition requirements. You can also have a nurse who assists you with medication management.

6 Different Types of Senior Living

Is assisted living for me?

Assisted living is for someone who needs some medical and regular wellness attention from professionals while wanting a caring community of people to socialize with.

  • Better medical attention
  • Activities and social events
  • Many daily chores are taken care of for you
  • Less independence
  • Required activities

4. Memory Care

Memory care is a step up from assisted living. This is an advanced form of care for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. 

Memory care provides 24-hour medical assistance from licensed nurses. Many memory care facilities will have an in-house physician. A room in a memory care facility will more closely resemble a hospital room than an apartment.

Memory care facilities offer meals and social activities to stimulate brain function and social interaction. 

While medical attention is the main priority, a memory care facility can still offer a fulfilling and joyful resident experience.

Is memory care for me?

Memory care is for someone with, or in the development of, dementia or Alzheimer’s. Memory care residents need 24-hour medical assistance and access to a physician at a moment’s notice.

  • Expert medical care
  • A safe, nurturing environment
  • Provides ways to improve functionality
  • Little independence
  • Fewer activities and amenities
  • Saint Ann Retirement Center does not offer memory care

5. Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing is a facility with advanced medical care treatment that doesn’t specialize in memory care. A skilled nursing facility is an excellent option for older residents who need access to 24-hour medical attention but don’t have memory issues.

Is skilled nursing for me?

Like memory care, medical attention is the primary priority in skilled nursing homes. However, you can still have a fulfilling and joyful resident experience.

  • Expert medical care
  • A safe, nurturing environment
  • Provides ways to improve functionality
  • Less independence
  • Less diversity in activities and amenities


6. In-Home Nursing

In-home nursing is excellent for people who are well enough to not be in a hospital but would like some assistance adjusting to home life. 

This isn’t a long-term treatment plan but rather a short-term one to help you after a visit to the hospital, say after surgery or emergencies like a heart attack or stroke.


  • Convenient
  • Provides a safety net in case an emergency happens


  • Not a long-term option
  • Expensive

Types of senior living, senior living options for seniors 55 and up infographic.

In conclusion

We hope to have simplified the types of senior living options for you. However, entering this phase of your life is a big step. Therefore, Saint Ann recommends you make this decision for yourself while you still can.

If you have any questions or are interested in our services, give Saint Ann Retirement Center a call. We’ll be happy to help you determine which types of senior living could be right for you.

Saint Ann Retirement Center offers the best senior living options for retirement in Oklahoma City. Assisted living and independent living accommodations that enhance the life of individuals looking for support and comfortability as well as a variety of amenities to keep the community active and engaged. Saint Ann is owned and operated by The Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, a not-for-profit Christian organization.

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Saint Ann Retirement Center

  • Oklahoma City
  • Edmond
  • Mustang 
  • Midwest City

Open: Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closed: Saturday & Sunday