The Language of Senior Living: Understanding the Options

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED  September 17, 2018
Seniors laughing

You’ve started thinking about moving your elderly parent out of his or her own home. And suddenly, you have more questions than answers: What’s the difference between Assisted Living, an Adult Care Home and a Continuing Care Retirement Seniors laughingCommunity? More importantly, how can you know which one is right for your loved one?

The “language of senior living” can be confusing because there are many types of communities offering different levels of support and services. At Hearthstone, we believe the more you know about the choices available, the easier it will be to find the right one.

Translating the choices

This brief overview gives you a look at the most common types of senior living options, and what you can expect from each:

Independent Living Communities are designed for active seniors who want a private “home” (usually an apartment) with the on-site perks of retirement living such as meal service, housekeeping and maintenance, transportation, community activities, and 24-hour staffing. These communities are intended for seniors who can manage their health and personal care on their own. An independent living community can be a beneficial “transitional step” for the senior who no longer wants to live in the big, rambling family home but who doesn’t yet need the higher level of care of assisted living.

Assisted Living Communities offer a combination of housing, personal support services and health care for seniors who require help with daily activities. (At Hearthstone, this can include medication management and reminders, shower assistance, dressing or toileting support, and escort/transportation services.) While apartment-type settings are typical for assisted living, the facilities range from a single home with a few residents to sophisticated multi-building complexes with on-site nursing, recreation facilities or other amenities.

Adult Care Homes are also known as Adult Foster Care or Adult Family Homes. They are usually single-family residences that offer 24-hour care in a home-like setting, with an average of five residents. Here in Oregon, these can be licensed to provide different levels of care. This makes each one different for the residents it serves—from those needing only room, board and minimal personal assistance to those who require full personal care or skilled nursing care.

Memory Care Communities are licensed and designed specifically for residents with Alzheimer’s, stroke or other dementia-related illnesses. These communities have specially trained staff, licensed nurses, secure facilities, and cognitive and physical therapies for personal-centered care. Hearthstone at Murrayhill has a dedicated memory care community called Anna’s Place that provides residents with the higher level of support they need in a smaller, more secure, less confusing living environment.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) are all-inclusive senior communities that offer independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing/memory care in one community. Also referred to as “life plan” communities, the idea is that once residents move in, they can continue to “age in place” without ever having to move out. By shifting between the provided levels of care as needed, the residents can spend the rest of their lives in one community.

Your options at Hearthstone:

Hearthstone Senior Living has two Beaverton communities, each with its own unique “feel” and living options.

Hearthstone of Beaverton is a small and intimate community that specializes in assisted living. The cozy, home-like design allows for seniors to confidently navigate their surroundings while they enjoy support and loving care.

In addition, this Hearthstone offers the option of respite care for seniors who need a safe, supervised place to recover from surgery or illness.

Respite care is also a wonderful option for caregivers who want to take a vacation and be certain that their loved one will be well cared for in their absence. Fully furnished respite-care apartments are available for short stays of two weeks or longer. (Tip: We suggest trying a short stay to “test drive” life at Hearthstone before making the move!)

Hearthstone at Murrayhill offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care together on a vibrant, inclusive campus setting. This Continuing Care Retirement Community enables seniors to stay in a familiar, friendly “neighborhood” and continue enjoying a full life, even as their needs change.

Unlike other independent retirement communities, Hearthstone at Murrayhill is also licensed to provide caregiving services as needed to our independent residents—giving them the option to remain in an independent living apartment even if they have short- or long-term caregiving needs.

Finding the “right fit”

The best way to determine which type of senior living is right for your loved one is to see as many as possible—and ask a lot of questions! Hearthstone can help you assess the best environment for your senior’s needs and explain the advantages of each of our Beaverton communities.

As a locally based, family-operated company, we’re proud to show visitors everything that Hearthstone has to offer. Please call to set up a personal tour and lunch today. We look forward to meeting you!


Hearthstone of Beaverton:


12520 SW Hart Road

Beaverton, OR 97008


Hearthstone at Murrayhill:


10880 SW Davies Road

Beaverton, OR 97008

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Hearthstone Senior Living specializes in independent, assisted, and memory care living options in Beaverton, Oregon.

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