If you're looking at a simplified living situation for your aging parent, there are three obvious choices that may come up: senior living, assisted living, and nursing homes. Here are some descriptions of each option that can help you decide where to place your parent.
Senior Living Communities
Senior living communities are the most independent of the three options. They may include subsidized housing that takes into account the limited income of seniors. Another purpose of senior living communities is to provide a network of seniors for better social interaction and greater access to social service providers. Finally, senior living communities tend to be handicap accessible, and even if your loved one has no mobility issues now, it's a good idea to get them in an accessible space before they need it, rather than after.
Assisted Living Communities
Assisted living communities often take care one step further. While there are still many independent elements of assisted living, you and your loved one get to decide how much care your parent needs on a daily basis. An assisted living facility may provide meal services or help with bathing and dressing as needed. This could also be a good step to take if your loved one needs some health care on a daily basis; your assisted living facility may have medical staff on hand that can keep an eye on your loved one. Special geriatric services such as memory care programs may be offered to help seniors stay healthy for longer. It's a great intermediary step when your loved one can do many things on their own, but it's still nice to know there's someone on hand to help.
Nursing homes are the best option when more custodial care is needed. They provide structure including a schedule, meal times, social activities, and staff that are constantly available to help your loved one through the day. The level of care and the training of staff is often very high in these facilities. Insurance support may be available to individuals who truly need skilled nursing services, although support for many nursing home stays comes from the family.
Of course, your parent may still be able to have a major voice in where they want to live. You could do the legwork of finding great assisted living facilities to choose from, vetting each option by speaking with the directors, and then having your loved one pay a visit to the facilities that you feel would be the best fit.