What Are the Four Types of Care That May Be Provided in a Long-Term Care Facility?

Many people understandably do not know of the differences between various types of long-term care facilities. They tend to equate long-term care with a nursing home. The fact is that there are different types of long-term care options available to a person in this day and age, including older women and men. 

The four basic types of long-term care available in this day and age is found in these types of facilities:

  • Independent living with at-home assistance
  • Assisted living
  • Nursing home care
  • Continuing care communities

Independent Living With At-Home Assistance

One type of care provided to older women and men actually is provided outside the doors of a long-term care facility as such. The entry level type of care is what is known as independent living at-home assistance. 

When considering long-term care, a priority is to provide services in the least restrictive manner. What this means is that long-term care services should be provided to older people in a manner that permits them the most amount of independence possible. When possible, that would be independent living with at-home assistance. 

This type of at-home assistance would include help with some activities of daily living. The type of assistance is tailored to the specific needs of an individual. 

The time may come at which at-home assistance is no longer addressing all of the needs of an older individual. When that point in time is reached, a consideration should be made as to whether assisted living makes sense for a particular older person.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is an option in which an older person resides in a community dedicated to providing services to people who cannot meet all of the activities with daily living with ease. Examples of the types of services that can be provided at an assisted living community include:


Bathing and grooming assistance



Meal preparation

As is the case with at-home care, assistance provided in an assisted living community is determined on a case by case basis. There is not a one size fits all template imposed upon residents of an assisted living community.

Assisted living communities come in a number of different forms. One way in which assisted living communities are delineated is by size. There are some assisted living facilities that have hundreds of residents. At the other end of the spectrum, there are also assisted living communities that have a small number of residents. These residential assisted living communities have somewhere in the neighborhood of six to 12 people living at a particular location. 

Nursing Home Care

Another long-term care option is a nursing home. A nursing home is defined as:

Nursing homes are dedicated to caring for seniors with severe or debilitating physical or mental illnesses who are unable to care for themselves. While assistance with activities of daily living is provided, the facility’s primary focus is providing skilled nursing care.

A resident of a nursing home has less independence than is found with the other options discussed in this article. On some level, a nursing home is the final long-term care destination. 

Continuing Care Communities

Finally, a form of care provided in a long-term care setting is represented by a continuing care community. A continuing care community is a multifaceted facility. The typical continuing care community includes a retirement living component. In this section of a continuing care community, a person finds apartments or condos designed for retired or older people. There generally are not any assisted living services provided as part of a rental agreement or association fee. With that said, a resident in this phase of a continuing care community can obtain at home assistance on his or her own through a homecare aide. 

A continuing care community would also have an assisted living section. Assisted living was described a moment ago. 

A continuing care community would have a nursing home component. This type of long-term care facility was also described previously in this article.

Finally, most long-term care facilities have a memory center. A memory center is designed to provide highly specialized services for people with memory issues, including advancing dementia. 

If you are an older American, or if you are the adult child of an aging parent, you may wonder whether the time has arrived for a transition to some type of long-term care. The basic indicators that a person might benefit from some type of assisted living at a minimum include:

  • Needing reminders to take medication
  • Noticeable weight loss or gain
  • Loss of mobility or increase in falls
  • Signs of neglecting household maintenance
  • No longer able to perform daily tasks, such as grooming or preparing meals
  • Increased isolation
  • Loss of interest in hobbies