Senior Living Options Made Simple

Senior Comfort Guide provides answers the questions you might have about your senior living options, like what is the difference between Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes. We are the most-trusted source for senior living options in Northeast Ohio. Call our office for a free consultation about your care options.

senior-comfort-guide-northeast-ohio-resources-senior-living-optionsWhat are Assisted Living Facilities?

If you do not require 24-hour nursing care, but do need assistance with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, etc.), an assisted living facility may be the right option. The size, layout, and services of these facilities vary. For example, one may look like a large family home while another may consist of apartments or condominiums. Your personal living space can vary from efficiency, to single bedroom, to multi-bedroom. One or more meals generally are provided in a communal setting. In Ohio, medication administration may be offered, and assisted living facilities are regulated by the Ohio Department of Health. These communities are popular because of the social setting and the ability to live as independently as possible while still receiving the assistance you need.

How do I pay for Assisted Living?

Assisted living is generally paid out of your private funds. Long-term care insurance, if you have it, may help, depending upon the services outlined within your policy. Some assistance may be available to U.S. war veterans and/or their spouses. For guidelines, contact the Ohio Department of Veterans Services ( In Ohio, Medicaid does not cover room and board within an assisted living facility.

What are considered Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes are intended for seniors who need long-term, 24-hour care. In addition, some facilities (also known as skilled nursing providers) offer long-term care and rehabilitation to not just seniors, but anyone who requires these services while recovering from a serious health problem. You may know someone who resided in a nursing home for a short period while undergoing rehabilitation for a stroke, joint-replacement surgery, etc. Nursing homes must be licensed by the state in which they are located. At the federal level, they must also be certified by Medicare and Medicaid.

How do to pay for a Nursing Home with Medicare?

When a nursing home is a long-term living option, private payment is generally required. Long-term care insurance may defray some costs. Medicare ( can cover specific services, such as physical therapy for a period of time, but Medicare will not cover most of the costs. The 24-hour nursing and custodial care within a nursing home is expensive and can quickly eat up your life savings. If your savings are unlikely to meet your needs, you should investigate Medicaid ( Some assistance may be available to U.S. war veterans and/or their spouses. For guidelines, contact the Ohio Department of Veterans Services (

If you need a nursing home or skilled nursing facility for a rehabilitation stay (i.e., to recover from a stroke, joint-replacement surgery, etc.) you generally can rely on Medicare for assistance as long as your stay meets Medicare’s “skilled criteria.” In these instances, Medicare generally covers the first 20 days at 100 percent as well as a high percentage of the cost for up to 80 more days. Frequently, your Medicare supplement/private insurance will cover the rest.

What are Memory Care Communities?

Many nursing homes and assisted living communities include memory care units that offer services for residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia. There are also facilities wholly devoted to memory care, offering a structured schedule of activities designed for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia. Regulation and costs vary by facility, but most memory care communities come under the “assisted living” designation.

What are Independent Living Communities?

Independent living may be called by other names—retirement communities, senior housing, etc. These communities are not regulated like assisted living facilities or nursing homes. As with assisted living, some communities may resemble apartments or condominiums, others may look more like cluster homes. Generally, these communities have floor plans that are senior-friendly—no stairs, wide doorways, step-free showers. Services and social amenities may include transportation to shopping, yard maintenance (such as with the cluster home), clubhouse, community room for family gatherings, parties, trips, etc. Expect to pay for these living arrangements with private funds.

Can you keep a pet in Independent Living options?

For some seniors, keeping a pet is an important consideration when making an independent living or group home choice. If the community you are considering allows pets, here are some other questions to ask:

  • What kinds of pets are allowed?
  • How many pets per resident are permitted?
  • Is there a size restriction on the pet?
  • Is a deposit required, and are there any monthly fees?
  • Are pet care services provided by facility staff?
  • What veterinary care services are required for pets?
  • What other restrictions are imposed?

Find out more at, or call 216-920-3051.

Assisted Living

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Independent Living

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Nursing Home

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