What is Senior Living in NYC, and Which do I Pick?

What is Senior Living in NYC, and Which do I Pick?

There are so many different options when it comes to living models for seniors in New York City, it can be hard to decide which one to choose. Between senior living, assisted living, memory care, nursing homes, and residential care homes, the choices can be overwhelming. This article lays out the differences between each, and offers some things to think about when making your decision. 

Nurse and senior woman laughing in an assisted living community

Senior Living

Senior living, also known as retirement homes, is an option for adults 55 and up. This kind of community is for adults who are mainly independent and can take care of themselves, but want to live in an environment where they can socialize with other seniors and have assistance with things like transportation and housekeeping. Adults in senior living communities do not need help with their activities of daily living (ADLs, such as getting dressed, taking medication, bathing and going to the bathroom), but can take advantage of the recreational and wellness activities that these communities provide. Most of these communities are in apartment-style buildings.

In the NYC area, many of these communities are concentrated in Manhattan. Senior living might be right for you if you are able to take care of yourself, but want to live in a community where you have help with household chores and opportunities to connect with others your age. This living model lets you keep your independence while offering extra comforts and community. 

A Hidden Gem: Atria Forest Hills

Located in a lively Queens neighborhood at 110-01 62nd Dr, Forest Hills, NY 11375, Atria Forest Hills is an enriching independent senior living community. With thoughtfully designed spaces and a rich variety of engaging activities, Atria Forest Hills empowers its residents to embrace what they love to do while providing top-quality care to all. 

Assisted Living

Assisted living communities provide most of the same things that senior living communities do, but offer residents more help with their ADLs. Some of them also have more extensive medical resources such as a 24/7 emergency call service and nurses on site. 

You might benefit from an assisted living community if you want the same environment that a retirement community provides, but require more help doing your daily activities, or if it is unsafe for you to live at home alone. Similar to senior living communities, many assisted living communities are located in Manhattan. 

Memory Care

Memory care communities are much like assisted living ones, but offer specialized and intensive care for dementia patients. Many assisted living communities in NYC offer memory care services, but there are some stand-alone memory care communities as well. Unlike typical assisted living, memory care involves caretakers checking in on residents more frequently and keeping them on a more structured, routine schedule to keep them safe and their stress low. They have greater safety measures to prevent residents from wandering, which many individuals with dementia are prone to. These communities provide activities to help improve residents’ cognitive function at any stage of their illness as well. 

If your loved one has been recently diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, memory care can offer a safe, supportive environment that caters to their needs. Talk with a local Oasis Senior Advisor who can help you find personalized options and choose the best memory care for you.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities, are communities for individuals with more specific health needs than those in assisted living communities. Nursing home residents do not need to be in a hospital, but cannot live alone at home without any medical assistance. As the name suggests, skilled nurses provide around-the-clock care to residents. Similar to other communities, many nursing homes offer wellness and social activities too.  

If you need the regular care of a nurse but still want to avoid becoming isolated, a nursing home might be right for you. Unlike typical assisted living communities, long-term care in nursing homes can be covered by Medicaid New York for eligible residents, relieving some of the financial burden.  

Residential Care Homes

Residential care homes offer similar levels of care to an assisted living community, but the main difference is that they tend to be much smaller—most serve under 20 residents. Many are located in an actual house rather than a large apartment-style building. The added benefit of a residential care home is that residents receive more personal attention from staff due to the smaller size of the community. 

The potential drawback of this model of care, however, is that because they are so small, they may offer fewer amenities and less variety in activities compared to mainstream assisted living facilities. Keep in mind that because New York City has such a high population and has limited space, such small communities may be difficult to find as well. 

If you want to live in a smaller, more intimate assisted living community, or perhaps are considering moving out of NYC to your new community, a residential care home might be the option for you. 

Here’s a table summarizing the differences between each community:

Type of CommunityWho’s it for?What it provides
Senior LivingAdults 55+ who can still take care of themselvesCommunity of other older adults Amenities and social/recreational activitiesHousekeeping services
Assisted LivingAdults who need assistance with their ADLsAmenities and social/recreational activities Help with ADLs Medical support
Memory careAdults diagnosed with dementia at any stageSpecialized support Activities to support cognitive functionExtra safety measures 
Nursing HomeAdults who need nursing and cannot live at home on their ownSocial/recreational activitiesAround-the-clock nursing 
Residential Care HomeAdults who need assistance with their ADLsAmenities and social/recreational activitiesHelp with ADLsMedical supportSmall community and more personal attention