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What are ADLs and IADLs and What’s the Difference?

A big source of pride for many folks is being able to take care of themselves without assistance. Whether it’s home upkeep, managing medications or personal hygiene, being able to do these tasks independently can be very fulfilling. Yet, as we age and our bodies aren’t able to function like they used to, many of these once routine tasks can become more and more challenging. Knowing when additional help is required—and how much of it you need—can also be difficult. That’s where Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) come in.

ADLs and IADLs are both services offered by senior living communities that help residents—particularly those in assisted living—stay independent for longer. Though they have nearly identical names, ADLs and IADLs have key differences in the services they include that together form a holistic level of care. Here’s what you should know about both terms so you can determine how much extra care you or your loved one needs to maintain independence.

What are Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs?

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are routine tasks most people are able to perform on a daily basis without assistance. Most senior living providers and health professionals group ADLs into the following categories:

Common Categories of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)


Being able to dress and undress, choose appropriate clothing for the weather and have the dexterity to manage buttons, zippers and other fasteners.


The ability to feed oneself (not including cooking).

Bathing or Showering

This includes grooming activities such as shaving and brushing teeth and hair.


Being able to control bowels and bladder or to manage incontinence independently.


The ability to use the toilet and get to the toilet independently.


This refers to functional mobility. For most people, functional mobility is being able to walk, get in and out of bed, and into and out of a chair. If the person is not ambulatory, they should be able to transfer from bed to wheelchair on their own.

What are Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, or IADLs, and how are IADLs different from ADLs?

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) are more complex tasks that often build on basic ADLs, but require a certain amount of physical dexterity, sound judgment and organizational skills. IADLs are not essential functions of living like ADLs, though they are key to being able to live independently. Instrumental activities of daily living typically include the following:

Common Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

Managing finances

Paying bills and managing financial assets.

Managing transportation

Either by driving, using public transportation or by organizing other means of transport.

Shopping and meal preparation

Grocery shopping, cooking and any other activity required to prepare your own meals.

Housecleaning and home maintenance

Keeping one’s living space reasonably clean and tidy and overall maintaining of the home.

Managing communication

Using the telephone and managing mail.

Managing medications

Obtaining medications and taking them as directed.

How do I know if and which ADLs and IADLs are needed?

The signs that it’s time to consider help with ADLs and IADLs can take a while to appear and be difficult to spot. It’s common to need a little more assistance with our day-to-day as we get older and we’re not as spry as we used to be. That’s why one of the best ways to evaluate the need for ADLs and IADLs is through a functional assessment performed by a doctor, rehabilitation provider or senior living specialist.

Difficulty managing instrumental activities of daily living is often an early indicator of other health problems. This assessment can help seniors determine what kind of assistance is needed on a day-to-day basis. An inability to perform two or three activities in a functional assessment is often a sign that one would benefit from outside help, or by considering moving to an assisted living community where ADL and IADL services are available.

Five Star Care: All the services you need, when you need them

In our Five Star Senior Living communities, no two residents are alike, so we personalize our level of care to fit your needs. That includes any help with ADLs and/or IADLs that you or your loved one needs to embrace and enjoy their best life and live stress-free. Call one of our senior care experts at (757) 797-6866 or complete the form below to find a Five Star community near you.

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Words of Wisdom from Six Inspiring Seniors for 2022 and Beyond

It’s been a difficult and unpredictable year, to say the least. Many of us have experienced pain and loss due to the pandemic that continues to upend life as we know it. Thankfully, history shows us that there is light ahead even in the darkest of times. Just ask a senior. Here’s some sage advice from six inspiring older adults who know a thing or two about struggle. Each has been through rough patches of life, only to emerge as strong on the other side. We hope these words of wisdom offer encouragement and hope for a bright, joyous new year.

William Stewart: From private eye to a shoulder to lean on

William (Bill) Stewart’s life started out rockier than most. Adopted at birth and raised by his grandparents during the Great Depression, he went on to have six children with his wife before she passed at the age of 51. His career spanned many areas of law enforcement and criminal justice from service as an NYPD detective to becoming a licensed private investigator. He also served his country for 30 years through the U.S. Air Force and Military Police, retiring at the rank of Lt. Colonel. He has adjusted to life in a senior living community by doing emotional art, reaching out to help others, and supporting other seniors who may be going through a difficult time.

Stewart has learned to lean on his deep, personal faith during times of trouble. “This, too, shall pass,” is an expression he refers to whenever he experiences difficulty. He also encourages younger Americans to look outward when things become overwhelming.

“Talk with others going through difficult times,” he says. “There is strength and comfort in being in a group, knowing that we are not alone.”

Paula Anderson: Lifelong educator and encourager

Teachers hold a special responsibility in our communities, and many of them never give up their mission of equipping others. This is the case for Paula Anderson, a retired educator with 45 years of dedication behind her. As the Project Director of the Upward Bound program at Queens College, CUNY, she encountered daily challenges in helping students grow and thrive. She never lost her hope for a better future for her students.

“Reflecting on the past challenges I endured,” she shares, “I knew that everything would be alright as long as I continued to believe in God.”

Anderson’s faith was a beacon for her to stay positive during her decades as an instructor. The never-quit attitude is something she hopes to pass on to others, even in her retired life.

Anderson also believes that focusing on others is key to a life well-lived. “Through the storms in life, we must love and encourage one another,” she says. “Take time to show love and concern for the elderly, sick, disabled, little children and every other person in this world.”

Shirley Abramson: Light to the little ones

Another retired educator, Shirley Abramson, spent much of her career in a nursery school setting with the responsibility of caring for and teaching the youngest of pupils. She understands that the amount of information today can overwhelm us, and she encourages us to use discernment with any information we receive. “Depend on your intelligence. Read, listen and take advice. Use your intelligence to get you through,” she stresses.

In addition to being mindful about the information we consume, she wants young people to keep a perspective about what they have and look forward. “We cannot dwell on what has happened in the past, but they must think about the present and the future,” she advises. “The past is important, but the future is worth hanging on to.”

She also recommends today’s Americans take ownership of their situation during times of trouble. “You are the captain of your own ship,” she says. “Make the best out of situations and always know that nobody will do it except for you.”

Additional advice for troubling times

We also heard from several other seniors, who shared the perspective that history repeats itself, and things get better over time. Some of the more impressive quotes include advice around helping others to keep your mind off of the bad in the world:

Barth Partch: “Give to the poor, work in soup kitchens and reach out to your elderly neighbors that might need your help.”

Margaret Jordan: “To make yourself feel good, do something for someone else — volunteer. Some of the fuzziest good feelings are when you give of yourself, and no one knows. Research shows that when we help others, our brains release the feel-good hormone throughout our bodies…. Don’t worry — be happy!”

Nick Degestaro: “Try to do a good deed. People are very appreciative if they know that you are listening.”

The Five Star Difference: Making 2022 Happy, Healthy and Stress-Free

There is power in positive thinking and change in helping others. By looking to older adults as a guide, we can find inspiration to continue on, even during the most challenging moments like those we’ve all faced this past year.

Through these troubling times, we’re more proud than ever Five Star Senior Living communities are among the safest places to live thanks to virtually 100% of team members being vaccinated against COVID-19. See if there’s a Five Star Senior Living community near you and schedule a tour to learn more about how Five Star is ensuring communities stay happy and healthy in 2022 and beyond.

How to Know When to Move to Assisted Living

You’ve earned your retirement, and you deserve to kick back, relax, and enjoy your golden years without the challenges of working. But getting older can pose challenges of its own. If home upkeep, hygiene, and other activities of daily living have become difficult for you or a loved one, it may be time to consider moving to assisted living, also known as personal care in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

When older adults (or their caregivers) hear the words “assisted living,” the image that comes to mind is often an institutional facility that marks the end of the road—a cold place where seniors are meant to live out the final years of their life. But the truth is that transitioning to assisted living can be the start of a wonderful new chapter of life where the to-do list is tossed out and the focus is on what brings joy.

What is Assisted Living?

Falling between independent living and full-time nursing care, assisted living offers a stress-free lifestyle where extra help with activities of daily living (ADLs) is always near so residents can maintain much of their independence.

Signs It’s Time to Move to Assisted Living

No two situations are exactly alike, and there are a lot of factors to weigh when considering moving to assisted living, whether for yourself or a loved one. Here are five signs that it might be time to start thinking about making the move to assisted living.

You Want to Expand Your Social Circle

As you or your loved one gets older and enjoys retirement, social circles can sometimes feel like they’re shrinking. Your friends may have moved away to be closer to their children or relationships you had during your working life have drifted apart.

Moving to an assisted living community is a great way to enjoy a stress-free lifestyle while meeting new people and making new bonds. The life enrichment and wellness activities offered at assisted living communities give you the opportunity to meet people with similar interests and experiences. Five Star takes a holistic approach to active community living with LifeStyle360—whether it’s in art class, on a cultural excursion, or during happy hour you’re bound to make new friends.

Accidents and Falls are More Frequent

As the leading cause of injury among older adults, falls are often caused by an older home that isn’t designed with senior safety in mind. Car accidents also pose a major risk for serious injury for older adults. Especially if you or a loved one lives alone, making driving a necessity.

It can help to reflect on the past year. A question to ask yourself if you’re thinking of moving to assisted living is: have you made two or more trips to the hospital due to a fall or an accident? If you notice any pattern of injuries, you may benefit from moving to an assisted living community where bedrooms and communal areas are made with safety in mind plus trained staff to assist you.

Home Maintenance Struggles

Aging often causes physical strength to decline. This can make it more difficult for you to keep up with housework and yard maintenance. Mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, and cleaning out the refrigerator can be difficult and even unsafe.

If taking care of your home has become increasingly difficult it might be time to look at an assisted living community. The stressors of home upkeep, housekeeping, and laundry are all handled by welcoming and trained staff letting you focus on your hobbies and pursue stress-free living.

Difficulty Leaving Home

Whether it’s mobility impairment or a lack of transportation, getting out of the house can become difficult as you or a loved one gets older.

If you are having difficulty leaving your home you may benefit from moving to an assisted living community. Most communities offer expert staff who work with your needs. Plus all kinds of life enriching activities, fun programs, and transportation services are included to keep you engaged and comfortable.

Getting the Right Nutrition

One of the best things about assisted living communities is the restaurant-style dining rooms with well-balanced chef-inspired meals, snacks, and catered meal plans. You or a loved one might benefit from an assisted living community if you find yourself skipping meals or relying on unhealthy convenience foods.

Enjoy The Freedom of Stress-Free Assisted Living

Still not sure if it’s time to think about assisted living? Take your time and reach out to a family member, friend, or an assisted living community directly to start the conversation.

Moving to an assisted living community is a major life decision for you or a loved one to make. There’s a misconception that assisted living means giving up your independence or that someone is watching over you 24/7—this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

At Five Star, assisted living is designed to enhance independence. With no more chores or errands to worry about, you have the freedom to do what makes you happy and rest easy knowing your every need is met at a cost you can afford. Most importantly, though, you are welcomed into a new home sweet home where you’re treated like family from the moment you walk in. Find out if there’s a Five Star community near you or contact us to learn more.

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How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?

Growing old can be a beautiful thing, full of new experiences and joys like finally taking that trip you always planned on or helping raise grandchildren. Yet, there comes a time for many seniors when worsening health conditions make basic daily activities—like bathing or managing medication—require assistance. These may be signs it’s time to consider moving into an assisted living community.

Moving into an assisted living community can be a difficult—and emotional—decision. It doesn’t help that searching for assisted living costs online brings up all sorts of confusing fees, contracts and services that vary widely. You might be wondering:

  • How much does assisted living actually cost? And is it worth it?
  • How does assisted living cost compare to the cost of in-home care?
  • How can I pay for assistance living?

Here’s the good news: there’s no need to keep searching. We’ve got you covered with simple and straightforward answers to the most asked questions about the cost of assisted living. Here’s what you need to know about assisted living costs so you can make the best choice.

What is an assisted living community?

Assisted living communities are far more than just places that provide senior care. They should also be a home where everyday burdens—like transportation and chores—are taken care of so your loved one can stay active and engaged doing the things they love most. Assisted living can be best thought of as a busy, involved community atmosphere that lies on the continuum between independent living and full-time, nursing-provided care. It’s best for seniors who need a little extra help with some activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing and medication reminders so they can live their most independent life.

What is the average cost assisted living?

Assisted living costs can vary greatly depending upon what area of the country you live in. The size of the apartment you choose, and the types and number of services also impact the monthly cost of assisted living. According to Genworth Financial, the average cost of assisted living in 2020 was $4,300 per month. Compare that to the cost of hiring a home health aide and housekeeper in 2020: an average of $9,000 a year! While the monthly cost of assisted living may cause an initial senior living sticker shock, the services and amenities included in the monthly cost make a move to an assisted living community a smart financial decision.

What is included in the average monthly cost for assisted living?

The true value of assisted living goes far beyond a new place to call home. Assisted living communities offer a wide variety of amenities and services included in the monthly cost to meet your loved one’s needs like:

  • Housekeeping, maintenance and laundry services.
  • Nutritious, chef-prepared meals served restaurant-style in the dining room.
  • Utilities and basic cable television.
  • A full calendar of life enrichment programs to participate in each day.
  • Transportation services for errands, appointments and other community outings.
  • Wellness programs and senior-friendly fitness activities.
  • Emergency call systems in apartments and/or an emergency call pendant option.

How can I pay for assisted living?

Most seniors pay with private funds; however, the monthly cost of assisted living can become much more manageable through senior living financing options like:

  • A Bridge Loan or Senior Line-of-Credit: These short-term, “interest-only” loans help fund assisted living costs until the necessary money comes in.
  • Deferred Annuity with Long-term Care Rider: Rather than making monthly insurance payments, the investor places a lump sum of money into a deferred annuity. They can then withdraw the money, tax-free and without any IRS penalties, to pay for assisted living.
  • Life Settlement Accounts: With a life settlement agreement, a senior sells their life insurance to a third party and receives a lump sum payment.
  • Veteran’s Benefits: US veterans and the surviving spouses of veterans can receive monthly benefits to pay for assisted living through the Aid and Attendance Benefit.

The Five Star Difference: Stress-Free Assisted Living

We know how hard the decision to move into an assisted living community can be, especially when it comes down to figuring out the cost and how to pay for it. That’s why Five Star’s senior living experts are happy to help answer your questions about assisted living costs and work with your budget so you can make the most informed decision. In a Five Star assisted living community, our residents receive the services they need in an engaging, active lifestyle they deserve at a cost they can afford. Most importantly, though, they are welcomed into a new home sweet home where life is stress-free, and friends become family. Download our FREE Guide to the Cost of Senior Living eBook and find out if there’s a Five Star Senior Living community near you to learn more.

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Home Care or Assisted Living: A Comparison

Exploring different senior living options for you or an aging loved one can feel overwhelming. You want to make the right choice for you or your loved one’s health and happiness, while also respecting your family’s desires regarding staying at home or transitioning to a senior living community. Both senior living arrangements have benefits and drawbacks worth considering. In this article, we’ll help clarify your options when choosing between assisted living and non-medical home care for seniors so that you can make the best, most informed choice for you and your family.

What is Non-Medical Home Care?

When you hire non-medical home care, a home care aide will come to you or your loved one’s home and stay—either round-the-clock or on a pre-determined schedule. This person, sometimes called a senior care companion or home aide, can help perform daily tasks provide companionship.

Non-Medical Care versus Skilled Home Health Care

It’s important to note the difference between non-medical care and home health care. Nearly anyone—even without a medical license—can perform non-medical care. In fact, the burden often falls on a family member, who isn’t paid for these services.

On the other hand, home health professionals are skilled medical professionals who can often administer medications, offer occupational therapy services, change wound dressings, and assess overall health. If you or your loved one is experiencing health concerns or if you’re worried about moving safely around the house, home health care is worth considering. Unfortunately, home care for seniors, both medical and non-medical, can be expensive and the costs can quickly add up to thousands of dollars a month, particularly if round-the-clock care is needed.

What Is Assisted Living?

In an assisted living community, staff is available 24/7 to provide non-medical care services. You or your senior loved one receives care and companionship she or he whenever it’s necessary.

In addition, an assisted living community often provides social activities from group yoga classes to movie night to keep residents engaged with life. Many also offer wellness programs, healthy meal options and transportation. If you opt for in-home non-medical care, you’ll have to pay separately for these types of services.

Non-Medical Home Care or Assisted Living?

Caregivers and seniors often believe non-medical home care is a suitable, more cost-effective option to assisted living. They might even believe non-medical home care gives a senior more freedom. For an older adult who wishes to age in place, in-home care may be the right option. Here are some of the key differences between the two to consider:

Assisted Living vs. Home Care Comparison Table


Assisted Living

Home Care

What types of care are provided? In assisted living, residents may need some help with transportation, medication management, housekeeping and other specific activities of daily living such as dressing and personal care, but still live independently. Care may include:

  • Bathing and personal hygiene
  • Medication reminders (although in most states they cannot administer medication)
  • Getting dressed
  • Help eating
What other services are offered? Residents receive three nutritious meals each day and access to life enrichment programs and social activities like yoga classes and movie nights to keep residents engaged with life. Services may include:

  • Light housekeeping
  • Cooking
  • Transportation
  • Companionship
What is the living situation like? Assisted living communities are designed to feel home-like and residents typically live in their own apartments or suites with private baths and kitchenettes. Home care allows for aging in the comfort of your own home, but modifications to the home might be necessary to maintain independence.
How much does it cost? The median cost of assisted living in the United States in 2021 was $4,300 per month, according to Genworth’s most recent Cost of Care Survey. In 2021, the average cost of a home health aide $5,148 per month.

Another major benefit of assisted living is that your care is spread out across an entire team instead of one individual. If your home health aide calls in sick or needs to care for someone else, few alternative options are available. Assisted living means your loved one will always have the care they need, when they need it.

Note: Your money may go further in an assisted living community since large expenses like rent and dining are included, along with a wide variety of activities and close companionship with other older adults you can’t get with a home aide. Download our FREE Guide to the Cost of Senior Living eBook to learn more about how assisted living may be more cost effective than you think.

When analyzing all factors, including costs, it’s important to remember the following:

  • A senior who uses non-medical home care must pay the home aide, along with all the usual expenses such as meals, mortgage, taxes, and utilities
  • Assisted living includes non-medical care, as well as a place to live, transportation, some meals, home maintenance (including lawn care), and utilities
  • Assisted living provides services when you or your loved one needs it, round-the-clock

Move or Stay?

The decision to move to assisted living or to age-in-place with help from a home aide is a difficult one. Find a Five Star Senior Living community near you to see if the environment, services and amenities would be the right fit for you.

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When to Move from Assisted Living to Memory Care

It can seem like just another one of those “senior moments” at first. Maybe your dad is starting to have more difficulty with familiar tasks at his assisted living community. A team member calls to tell you he hasn’t been participating in activities due to losing track of time and his way around the community. One of the harder to accept explanations is that your dad may be showing signs of dementia, leaving you and your family with a difficult choice: should he move from assisted living to memory care?

Dementia is a scary word that many associate with a loss of control and the ability to live a fulfilling life. It can be heartbreaking to watch a loved one struggle to recognize their grandchildren or recall that beloved family vacation. A dementia diagnosis, though, doesn’t mean your loved one still can’t find joy and purpose in life. It may just be a sign that it’s time to move them into a community with specialized care and a team that understands how to meet their growing needs with compassion and understanding. This is where memory care comes in.

What is Memory Care?

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia affect people differently. Over time, it can progress from new problems with words when speaking or writing to issues that affect your loved ones’ safety and quality of life. That’s why the team in a memory care community is made up of memory care specialists trained to help each memory care resident enjoy a life filled with dignity, purpose and moments of engagement.

Memory care isn’t just for helping residents be safe, it is for creating moments of joy by building on each resident’s personal narrative to help them feel successful and connected. Making your loved one feel at home—and offering plenty of opportunities for fun and belonging—are at the heart of a dedicated memory care community. Five Star Senior Living’s award-winning, innovative Bridge to Rediscovery program provides those moments of joy and stimulation, and so much more. Whatever your loved one’s passions and abilities, Bridge to Rediscovery tailors their surroundings and activities around them. Meeting all the resident’s needs is the mission, from basic tasks to helping them find a sense of purpose and connection.

How is Memory Care Different from an Assisted Living Community?

Assisted living and memory care communities offer some similar services, help with the activities of daily living, dining, programs and more. Memory care communities are designed to provide specialized care for residents with dementia. Memory care team members have additional training and experience caring for seniors with dementia who can sometimes express challenging behaviors.

At Five Star, we use the phrase relate, motivate and appreciate. Memory care should relate to each resident’s life experiences so they feel connected to the world around them. We motivate people by focusing on what they enjoy, and we appreciate by inviting participation and giving choices. Programs that include the five domains of wellness: cognitive, sensory, group, motor and purpose help individuals with dementia flourish. A variety of therapies such as music therapy, aroma therapy, art therapy, pet therapy and horticultural therapy are quite helpful to encourage those with memory conditions to engage in the world around them. The activities of daily living (ADLs) offered in assisted living—like bathing and grooming—are still available, but memory care goes the extra step to give your loved one the specialized attention they need to continue to live a healthy and enjoyable life in a safe, secured environment.

4 Ways to Know It’s Time to Move from Assisted Living to Memory Care

It’s not uncommon for people to be more forgetful as they age. That’s what makes dementia so difficult to spot. It can seem harmless at first—a slight disorientation to time and place or stumbling on certain words—before escalating. Those signs of dementia could mean it’s time to make the move to memory care. Here are four key things to watch out for that could signal that it’s time to transition.

  1. Regular Confusion: We all forget to do the dishes or take out the trash every now and then. If your loved one is frequently losing track of time, having trouble expressing themselves or wandering, memory care will be the best choice.
  2. Less Active in the Community: Was your dad once a pool shark in the billiards club, but hasn’t shown up in a while? Maybe he stops by the activity room every now and then but seems distant and disinterested in whatever is going on. Dementia might be making these activities more challenging, and they would benefit from gentler, more cognitively stimulating activities.
  3. Requiring More Help: Is your loved one experiencing difficulties with the daily activities and are they exhibiting a decline in their cognitive abilities and decision-making skills? For example, a parent who has always done a good job managing finances and now their bills are overdue.
  4. Wandering: Becoming lost or exit seeking behaviors can occur at all stages of dementia and there are a variety of causes. Wandering is a sign that your loved one requires a safe and controlled environment.

Your loved one deserves to live an engaging, purposeful life in a setting that is custom tailored to their strengths and abilities. And you deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your loved one lives where they are safe, and have a sense of purpose and belonging. A dementia diagnosis is difficult to grapple with, but you and your loved one don’t have to face it alone. Moving them into a memory care community can help them receive the specialized care they need to live a meaningful life full of joy and laughter.

If you think your loved one is showing signs of dementia and it might be time to move them from assisted living into memory care, find a memory care community near you and meet with the team there to discuss your questions.

How to Choose an Outpatient After-Surgery Rehab Center

When an older adult is hospitalized for an injury, illness or planned surgery, they may continue to recover at a skilled nursing and rehab center before returning home or to their senior living community. This short-term care can help improve their overall outcome and prevent a return trip to the hospital. But what about long-term? How does someone stay in their best physical shape—and out of the ER—as life goes on?

That’s where outpatient after-surgery rehab centers come in. Outpatient rehab is an option that can follow short-term rehab to provide more intensive therapy in an outpatient setting. This comprehensive approach can ensure a complete recovery and a more durable therapeutic outcome.

Not all outpatient rehab providers are alike, however. Try the tips below to find the best provider for you or your loved one.

6 Tips for Choosing an Outpatient Rehab Provider

Here are some factors to consider and questions to ask when exploring outpatient after surgery rehab center options:

  1. Success rates: Outpatient rehab providers have varying levels of experience. Make sure you ask a provider how well their clients do in the following areas: reduced risk of falling, increased walking distance and improved ability to use stairs. Can they provide figures? What percentage of clients end up back in the hospital?
  2. Specialization: Have the providers’ therapists completed specialized training in working with older adults? Do they use programs clinically proven for older adults, such as the Otago Exercise Program, which is designed to reduce risk of falling?
  3. Fitness training: Does the provider offer post-rehab fitness and strength training? This one-on-one personal training can help prevent future injuries and allow seniors to retain their highest degree of independence. Not many outpatient rehab providers offer fitness training, but its many benefits are worth the trouble to find one that does.
  4. Reputation: How long has the provider been in business? Longevity can be a mark of success. Also ask friends who have been through outpatient rehab what advice they have to offer. It can help you gain objective insight into any provider you are considering.
  5. Fully equipped onsite clinics. Is the provider located onsite or elsewhere? Offsite providers can’t carry in some of the sophisticated equipment needed for optimal outcomes, such as SCIFIT cardio equipment, recumbent bikes and HUR balance equipment.
  6. Scheduling: Does the provider offer onsite clinic hours so clients aren’t beholden to a visiting therapist’s schedule? The easier it is to schedule, the better the chances of completing a course of therapy or fitness training for a full return to optimal quality of life.

Respite Care: A Convenient Option for Outpatient Rehab

If you or a loved one are having surgery and anticipate the need for support from an after-surgery rehab center, here’s good news: You can book a short-term stay in a Five Star Senior Living community that features an onsite Ageility clinic. Ageility is Five Star’s rehab and fitness partner. Founded in 2001, Ageility specializes in older adults and provides fitness classes and training in addition to onsite physical and occupational therapy. Find out if there’s an Ageility clinic near you.

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The Difference Between Senior Apartments and Independent Living

In the lingo-heavy world of senior living, it can be hard to know the difference between terms like “senior apartments” and “independent living communities.” Sounds pretty similar, right? Look a little closer at their definitions, though, and you’ll find one offers far more than the other. Here’s a breakdown of both senior apartments and independent living communities that can help you decide which is the best fit for you or your loved one. Can you spot the difference?

What are senior apartments?

In the same way that senior discounts are just discounts created for a certain age group, senior apartments are pretty similar to regular apartments, they’re just restricted to, and designed for, older adults. Most often the age requirement for a senior apartment community is 55 or 62. The complex will need to be compliant with the HUD regulations for age discrimination. The senior apartment buildings likely have no or limited stairs, are handicap accessible, and have handrails in the bathroom to accommodate the needs of older adults with limited mobility. Senior apartments differ from 55+ communities in that they typically do not have the amenities that a 55+ community offers. In some instances, senior apartments are subsidized based on income.

Like many things in life, there are also more upscale senior living options for those that can afford the high price tag. Luxury senior living apartments promise a premium lifestyle with floorplans featuring gleaming new surfaces and all the latest gadgets, along with access to exclusive amenities. It all comes at a steep cost, though. Luxury senior apartments can quickly eat away at a retirement nest egg but it is possible to enjoy luxury senior living.

What is independent living?

If senior apartments are like a hotel, then consider independent living communities (also called retirement communities) a resort. For example, accommodations in a Five Star Senior Living independent living community range from spacious, beautifully designed apartments to maintenance-free villas and cottages. They’re best for more active seniors who want to maintain their independence and don’t require the type of additional support you’d find in assisted living. Independent living communities offer everything senior apartments do and so much more.

What are the key differences between senior apartments and independent living?

Though both senior apartments and independent living communities offer senior living options for older adults, independent living communities offer so much more than just a place to live. They also welcome you into a tight-knit community where friends become family and everything you need is right at your doorstep. Here are a few other key differences between the two to remember:

Senior Apartments vs. Independent Living Comparison Table

Senior Apartments

Independent Living

What services are provided? Senior apartment complexes offer the convenience of providing maintenance of the building, grounds and apartment. Independent living communities offer a stress-free lifestyle where the hassles of life—like home upkeep, cooking and cleaning—are taken care of so you can spend more time enjoying all the activities and amenities your community offers.
What amenities are provided? There may also be a clubhouse with planned social activities. The availability and quality of amenities can vary widely by complex. Convenient access to on-site shared dining spaces, pools, libraries, game rooms and a wide variety of community activities ensures that there’s never a shortage of ways to spend your days in independent living.
How much does it cost? The cost to rent a senior apartment varies. There are, however, affordable options like low-income apartments that cap rent and utilities at about 30 percent of income. Market rate apartments with costs at or slightly below the cost of local all-age apartments and luxury senior apartments are other available options. Communities vary widely in terms of cost, which can range from $2,000 to $5,000 or more a month. A number of factors determine what you pay, like the type of community and location. Download our FREE Guide to the Cost of Senior Living eBook to learn more and get the answers you need.
How do I find a community near me? Your best bet is to search online for senior apartments or contact your local housing authority and ask about senior apartment options in your area. The best place to start is to search online for “independent living communities” or use Five Star’s easy Find a Community search tool to discover select communities in your area.

The Five Star Difference: Stress-Free Independent Living, Reimagined

In an independent living community, you can truly leave your worries behind and focus on the things that matter most. Ready to experience the Five Star difference? See if there’s a Five Star Senior Living community near you and schedule a tour to discover just how much you have to look forward to.

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What is Luxury Senior Living?

If you’ve gone on Google and looked into senior living options, you’ve probably come across the phrase, “luxury senior living.” The concept of luxury retirement living has come of age, driven in part by the rising number of Baby Boomers considering retirement.

But what exactly is luxury senior living? Definitions vary widely, as do the range of communities advertising premium services and amenities. At one end of the spectrum are communities promoting the good life: the upscale apartments of a high-rise, the concierge-like services of a fine hotel, and resort-like amenities such as movie theaters and heated indoor swimming pools.

The catch? The entrance or buy-in fee for some luxury communities can be pretty steep—in some cases, from hundreds of thousands of dollars to well over $1 million. The monthly fees are substantial as well. Fortunately for those who choose to be more discriminating with their retirement nest egg, it’s possible to enjoy luxury living for a lot less. Let’s talk about what really makes senior living luxurious.

Living the good life where your needs are taken care of

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary offers a definition of the good life as “a happy and enjoyable life.” According to The World Happiness Report 2021, which is based on Gallup polling data, some of the major factors supporting a happy and enjoyable life are health, someone to count on, freedom and trust.

If you or someone you love is older, you might be surprised (and happy!) to learn that according to the report, the wellbeing of people over 60 rose significantly in 2020, including fewer health problems, despite older people being at greater risk of COVID-19. The higher ratings were attributed mainly to better health and, interestingly, “someone to count on” in the form of neighbors and Zoom calls during the pandemic.

Interestingly because it so happens that having someone to count on is a major advantage of living in a community designed for older adults, whether that someone is a neighbor checking in, a team member taking care of errands or housekeeping, or family members dropping by. You never have to worry about you or your loved one being alone. Senior living communities also enable the freedom to enjoy a life without chores as well as having onsite support and services—and, in the case of some Five Star Senior Living communities, onsite fitness and rehab centers—all provided by folks you’ve come to know and trust, all of which support better health.

Luxury living: plush and personalized

Of course, enjoying luxurious accommodations can be part of the good life, too. A Five Star senior living community might offer any or all of the following, with an emphasis on personalizing services and amenities for a bespoke experience:

  • Gourmet-style dining, including personal favorites
  • Beautiful lobbies, living rooms, meeting areas, card rooms, activity spaces, bars, bistros, courtyards, pools and other inviting spaces where you can meet with friends and family
  • Pianos, drums and other musical equipment for classes or general use
  • Onsite fitness centers
  • Onsite entertainment and Happy Hours
  • A full complement of social, educational, wellness, cultural and spiritual program
  • Guided day trips to places of regional interest, with transportation
  • Extra-attentive team members—servers, housekeepers, maintenance—who are focused on your every need

Five Star Senior Living offers premier community options with these features and so much more. Search our communities and you will see which ones offer resort-like services and amenities such as concierges, bistros, pools, full libraries, beauty salons, doctor house calls, landscaped gardens and incredible views. Across the board, however, whether independent living or assisted living, no matter which Five Star community you choose, you can count on enjoying the good life.

The wealth of warmth

The added advantage of a quality senior living community is that all of these life enhancements come with a sense of independence in the warmth of a community setting, a kind of personal wealth money can’t necessarily buy. When you think about it, luxury living can be seen as being in a class by itself—or living where you feel you’re flying first-class. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Good living happens here

Ready to make a change? Ready for the good life? Find out if there’s a Five Star Senior Living community near you. We’ll make you feel like royalty.

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What is the Difference Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes?

It’s natural that as our bodies age, we may need help with more and more day-to-day tasks. Perhaps you’ve noticed this occurring for a loved one—from struggling to put on support hose first thing in the morning to fumbling with medications just before bed. Or maybe you’re the one needing assistance. Either way, you’re wondering whether it’s time for a change: Would life be better in a senior living community? Which kinds offer help with everyday activities?

The good news is that you have many options when it comes to senior living. With locations around across the US, there’s a good chance there’s a Five Star independent living, assisted living or memory care community near you or your family. Because there are many choices, however, it can be confusing to know how they differ, and which would be best for you or your loved one.

The similarities between assisted living and nursing homes

Both types of senior communities focus on keeping their residents safe, healthy and happy. Both provide support with what are referred to as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). These include bathing, dressing and personal care. Other similarities include:

  • Medication Management: Medication errors are a leading reason older adults end up in the emergency room. Managing them can be difficult, especially for seniors who take multiple prescriptions daily. Both types of communities can help residents safely manage their medications.
  • Life Enrichment: We know isolation and loneliness put older adults at greater risk for health problems, such as depression, diabetes and high blood pressure. Assisted living communities and nursing care centers offer a variety of life enrichment activities designed to meet residents’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
  • Supportive Services: What causes many older adults to make a move to a senior living community of some kind is the need for support with tasks like housekeeping, laundry and transportation. Both types of communities offer these services.
  • Safe Environment: While their physical layouts are very different, assisted living and nursing care centers are both designed with the security of an older adult in mind. From handrails and grab bars to emergency call systems, both include features to help residents stay safe.
  • Well-balanced Meals: Good nutrition is also a focus for both types of communities. Residents benefit from well-balanced meals and nutritious snacks each day. This is a big plus for adults who may be struggling to shop for food and plan and prepare meals at home.

The differences between nursing homes and assisted living

The biggest differences between these two senior living options are the assistive or medical services provided, living arrangements and cost. Compare the two options here:


Assisted Living

Nursing Homes

How much care do you receive? In assisted living, residents may need some help with transportation, medication management, housekeeping and other specific activities of daily living such as dressing and personal care, but still live independently. Residents in a nursing home require around the clock care and monitoring. They typically live with more complex health care conditions that require the assistance of a skilled nurse or a physical or speech therapist. Some require respiratory care services.
What other services are offered? Residents receive three nutritious meals each day and access to life enrichment programs in an individual or group setting. Residents receive limited recreational activities along with services like meals, laundry and housekeeping.
What is the living situation like? Assisted living communities are designed to feel home-like and residents typically live in their own apartments or suites with private baths and kitchenettes. Nursing homes have more of a clinical environment and residents typically live in a private or semiprivate room that does not include a living room or kitchen. 
How much does it cost? The median cost of assisted living in the United States in 2021 was $4,300 per month, according to Genworth’s most recent Cost of Care Survey. The median monthly cost of nursing homes in the U.S. in 2021 is about $7,908/month for a semi-private room and $9,034/month for a private room, according to Genworth.

Assisted living: Benefits beyond assistance

Most aging adults seeking help with daily living are not at the level of need addressed by nursing care centers. For many, a Five Star assisted living community may be just what is needed. Our communities offer help with housekeeping, maintenance, laundry and transportation but so much more—including restaurant-quality dining and convenient health services as well as games, clubs and other fun social activities. You get just the amount of help you need to live exactly the life you want to live.

How may we assist?

If you’re looking for an assisted living community, find out if there’s a Five Star Senior Living community near you. We’ll be happy to tell you about all the programs and services we offer to make life easier and more enjoyable!

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