When older adults start to need a little more help, families are left to decide what type of care is best. While it’s often a progression, starting with adult children helping where they can, sometimes reality finds that the only solution is to choose a more structured type of help. As you weigh your options, here are some of the top types of senior care available in the United States for you to consider.

Independent Living Community

An independent living community provides an apartment, condo or even single-family home for your older loved one. These are highly independent communities, but offer a measure of support depending on the individual’s needs. Typically, the main support is social, with outings and events planned throughout the week to help keep residents connected. In addition, those living in independent living communities may be able to purchase meals or meal service, saving them the hassle of cooking. Of course, fully equipped kitchens in these homes mean that they can cook when they wish. This option is ideal for individuals who don’t need much medical or daily life support, but want social interaction.

Assisted Living Communities

An assisted living community provides a private apartment or condo, but more interaction and intervention from staff. These communities have staff available 24 hours a day, and the staff will provide housekeeping, help with daily living needs, assistance with medication and meals. Most assisted living communities assume that their residents will eat meals with the community, but do provide a small kitchen in the units for occasional cooking. Licensed nursing service will be available to ensure seniors are living a healthy and fulfilling life. Most assisted living communities will provide social activities and transportation into the community for shopping and entertainment. This option is great for those who need a little help around the house, but are still able to live independently for the most part.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are designed for those who need closer medical monitoring. Round-the-clock nursing care is delivered with care and compassion. This is the ideal solution for those who have complex medical conditions or who are severely disabled and need help with all daily tasks as a result. Activities and social events make life more interesting, but the primary role of the nursing home is to provide medical care and support to those who are frail.

Residential Care Homes

Residential care homes allow a group of older individuals to live together in a home. This provides a more home-like community instead of a hospital setting, but ensures assistance is available around the clock from live-in caretakers. The caretakers will provide help with daily living tasks as needed and arrange for medical care when warranted, but round-the-clock nursing may not be available. These may also be called board and care or group homes. This option works well for those who need constant help, but cannot rely on family to provide that level of help.

Home Care

Some seniors prefer to enjoy life in their own homes, yet may need help to remain healthy and independent. Home care provides a professional who comes to the senior’s home to help with daily living tasks, meal preparation, medication and even transportation. They also provide companionship and emotional support. Home care can vary greatly from live-in care giving to checking in once per week to ensure all needs are being met. This type of care works well for seniors who do not wish to go to “a home,” but need more care than family is able to provide.

Care from Family

Sometimes the best solution is to provide care as a family. Adult children of a loved one can share the responsibility of providing care, or the older adult can move in with an adult child or grandchild. This can be a rewarding option and provide love and support for the elderly individual by keeping family close by.

The type of senior care that’s best for your loved one and your family will depend on your family, lifestyle and the level of support needed. Weigh your options and research facilities or caregivers carefully to ensure your loved one is well taken care of.