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Independent living is a general name for any housing arrangement designed exclusively for seniors. Assisted living emerged in the 1990s as an eldercare alternative on the continuum of care for seniors for whom Independent living is no longer appropriate but who do not need the 24-hour medical care provided by a nursing home. Assistance may include the administration or supervision of medication, or personal care services provided by a trained staff person. The housing is friendlier to older adults, more compact, with easier navigation and assistance in outside maintenance. Assisted living comes by many names, such as residential care, board and care, or group homes. A retirement home differs from a nursing home primarily in the level of medical care given. More than two-thirds of the states use the licensure term assisted living. Retirement homes are privately owned rental accommodations for seniors who are able to manage and pay for their own care. A nursing home, convalescent home, Skilled Nursing Unit, care home or rest home provides a specific type of care for its residents. Retirement homes are also called retirement residences. Assistance may include the administration or supervision of medication, or personal care services provided by a trained staff person. A nursing home may be a good choice if both medical and personal care needs have become too great to handle at home. A place in a retirement home can be paid for on a rental basis, like an apartment, or can be bought in perpetuity on the same basis as a condominium.
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