While many seniors wish to remain at home for as long as possible, you may eventually have to make a decision regarding your loved one’s living situation and care needs. If and when you do, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the types of facilities that might be beneficial for your loved one. Let’s take a closer look at one type of facility in particular — assisted living centers — to clear up any confusion or uncertainties you might have.

They aren’t nursing homes
A lot of elder care terms are used interchangeably, so it’s understandable that most people think the terminology doesn’t matter. But these facilities are not all the same. Assisted living facilities provide more daily help than independent living centers but provide more independence than many nursing homes do. So in a sense, they’re an excellent “in-between” option for many seniors. If you have trouble keeping them straight, remember that assistance is different from constant nursing care.

Many facilities are pet-friendly
Seniors and their families often worry that moving to any type of elder care center will force them to give up what they hold dear. But that’s far from the truth. Not only do many facilities encourage residents to bring furniture and mementos from home, but a lot of them will even allow residents to bring their pets along, too! A number of senior communities understand the importance of having companionship and how traumatic it would be to give up a pet. When it’s feasible, many facilities will allow you to bring your furry friend along with you when you move in.

Memory care options may be available
Seniors with memory conditions like Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia may assume that they’ll need to live in a facility specifically for residents with these diseases. But many assisted living centers have options for memory care right there. While this might not be a possibility for seniors dealing with dementia in the later stages, it’s often a great option early on. And because staff members are often more specialized, they’ll be equipped to deal with many of the common situations that dementia patients and their caregivers encounter.

These facilities provide ample social opportunities
A lot of families are under the impression that their loved ones will be lonely if they move into an elder care facility. But the truth is that staying at home often isolates seniors and contributes to depression. But in facilities like these, there are plenty of opportunities to make friends and engage in activities they enjoy. From trips to the local shopping center to games, exercise, crafts, and music events right at the center, your loved one won’t have much time to be bored.

Each community is different
One reason there’s often confusion about what facilities like these provide is that there isn’t one national standard. Each facility may offer different programs and levels of care. For instance, around 40% of all assisted living facilities provide some skilled care for residents; if that’s something that’s important to your family, start there. Other centers are able to adjust to increasing levels of care as time goes on. While it’s true that this means you’ll probably have to devote a good amount of time to the search, the good news is that with all the options available to you, there will likely be at least one that is perfect for your loved one.

Choosing an elder care living facility may not always be straightforward. It’s vital to have all of the facts in front of you before making a decision. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to pick the right living situation for your loved one.