A little information goes a long way.

If you’re new to the world of senior living communities, chances are you have a few questions. Or you’ve run into words and phrases that don’t readily make sense. All in all, you might want to do a little research beyond the digital walls of a community’s website (even ours). This page is for you.


What is Independent Living?

Independent living is an active-adult lifestyle. In an independent-living community, residents are capable of living without assistance (although the community can usually provide resources if certain services become necessary). Such communities typically provide meals and housekeeping as well as social and wellness activities.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is designed for senior adults who require some help with the activities of daily living to maintain their optimal level of independence. It’s an ideal option when skilled care isn’t required – such as a nursing home – but a bit of help is needed for functions such as bathing, dressing, grooming, taking medication, mobility and the like.

What is Memory Care?

Memory Care is a specialized environment, designed for helping those who struggle with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. Activities and programs help maximize remaining cognitive abilities, reduce anxiety and confusion, and increase peace of mind.

How will I know it’s time for my loved one to move into an assisted living community?

That’s a great question. You’ve probably had the opportunity to see your parents or other loved ones over a period of years. The aging process includes a natural slowing down, and you may see that certain day-to-day functions – such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, and remembering to take medications – have become a challenge. At that point, you’ll find yourself questioning how viable it is for that person to live on his or her own, out of concern for their safety and well-being.

How can I help in the transition?

There are topics of conversation that can help you as you start a dialog that leads in that direction when the opportunities arise. Questions such as – Is your home still appropriate for your needs? Do you need help with household chores? Are you able to cook your favorite meals? Are you comfortable driving? Would you enjoy having transportation available at your door? Are you taking your medications correctly? These and similar questions can pave the way to consideration of a new – and better – lifestyle.

What’s the best way to get started in selecting a senior living community?

Many people will begin the process of seeking an appropriate retirement community by touring the community and talking with staff on behalf of their aging loved one. Then, having made the initial inquiries, they will draw their parents into the conversation.

Can I afford this? Financial considerations and how to deal with them:

Making the leap to senior living is a big decision, and we know that pricing is always a concern. We’re here to help.

Please ask how we can assist you with any financial considerations.

Are pets allowed?

Yes! Please ask about our pet policy and restrictions, as well as our pet care packages.

Can residents bring their own furniture?

Absolutely. Residents are welcome and encouraged to bring their own furniture, art, photos, etc., and to make their residence their home.

These questions are interesting, but don’t cover my specific question or concern. Any general advice?

Yes. Please think of us at AVIVA Senior Living as a family resource. Give us a call. We will likely have excellent guidance, or have a pretty good idea on where to direct you to get your questions answered. In the meantime, the Family Resource section includes the leading online organizations and resources.


Age-restricted / active-adult communities

An age-restricted community is often called “active-adult living.” Typically, the minimum age for most active-adult communities is 55. Designed for active adults, these communities are lifestyle focused, offering activities and socialization opportunities, but no healthcare.

Assisted Living

Assisted-living communities typically provide services that allow the resident to maintain a degree of independence, while offering a helping hand with certain tasks such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and taking medications.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

CCRCs are senior-living communities that provide a range of lifestyle options on one campus, from independent living, assisted living, to memory care, and, sometimes, skilled nursing. The purpose is to provide a continuum of care throughout one’s lifetime. These communities usually offer long-term contracts or written agreements, and a continuum of housing services and health care. Floor plans can range from individual cottages and duplexes to studio apartments.

Independent Living

Independent living is an active-adult lifestyle. In an independent-living community, residents are capable of living without assistance (although the community can usually provide resources if certain services become necessary). Such communities typically provide meals and housekeeping as well as social and wellness activities.

Long-term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance developed specifically to cover the cost of skilled nursing, assisted living, home health care and other long-term care services. These services are usually not covered by traditional health insurance or Medicare.


The federal health insurance program called Medicare is designed for people who are 65 and older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease. Medicare Parts A, B, C and D cover specific services and care.


Financed by state and federal governments, Medicaid is the program of medical assistance designed for those unable to afford regular medical service—available to fund care in a skilled nursing setting.

Memory Care

A specialized type of elder care, memory care is tailored specifically for the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive disorders.

Rehabilitation Services

Services designed to help an individual recover from an injury, operation, stroke, or illness. These may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and memory care. In most cases, services are planned to help the patient return as closely as possible to pre-challenge levels. The services may be residential (inpatient), or outpatient, and may be short- or long-term, depending on the needs of the patient.

Retirement Community

“Retirement community” is a loosely applied term referring to any community dedicated to senior living. Encompassing many lifestyles, it can include rentals or for-sale communities. The term retirement simply implies “senior,” and is not restricted to retired people.

Skilled Nursing Care

Skilled-nursing care communities offer around-the-clock nursing care, provided or supervised by licensed medical personnel.