What Is Assisted Living in Massachusetts? A Local Guide to Senior Living Terms


That moment when you find the right independent living or assisted living community, whether for yourself or for your loved one, feels so rewarding.

But the journey to finding the community that’s the perfect fit is seldom a straightforward one. There’s sure to be twists, turns and various terms you’ve never encountered before, but will need to understand in order to make such an important decision. Whether you decide that Edgewood Retirement Community in North Andover, MA, is the right fit for you or your loved one, or find that another community is where your senior living needs will be met, we want to help make this process as stress-free as possible for you.

As your dedicated resource for all things senior living in MA, we’ve compiled this glossary of the most common senior living terms to aid you during your search.

Assisted Living, Independent Living and Other Senior Living Terms Defined

Retirement Community: communities for older adults offering housing, lifestyle choices, entertainment and other senior living services. The minimum age for retirement communities varies (62+, 65+, etc.) as do the services that each community offers. For example, some communities are exclusively for independent senior living, while others — such as Edgewood — offer continuing care allowing residents to transition from independent living to higher levels of care on the same campus.

Independent Living: ideal for adults ages 62+ who are able to live independently and want the benefits of low-maintenance living that independent living communities in MA offer. Edgewood’s independent senior living community guarantees rightsized, private apartment homes and cottages complemented by countless programs dedicated to socialization, wellness and active living. At Lifecare communities, residents have the peace of mind that they can transition to higher levels of care within the community should the need arise in the future.

Assisted Living: a care level for seniors who can maintain some degree of independence in their lives, but need support with one or more activities of daily living. These activities can include dressing, bathing, meal preparation, housekeeping, and more. Assisted Living is generally regarded as the support service preceding skilled nursing care and offers seniors housing and individualized care plans to meet their daily needs. Assisted Living at Edgewood is available in The Wooodlands Inn.

Memory Care/Support: a care level that provides residents with Alzheimer’s and other dementias all of the same personal care and support services they would receive in assisted living, as well as special services designed to meet the needs of individuals with memory impairment. Memory care residents are cared for by staff members who are specially trained in caring for residents living with dementia with compassion, dignity and respect in a secure and nurturing environment. Edgewood’s Memory Care services are offered at The Woodlands Inn.

Long-Term Care: skilled nursing care services for seniors with chronic health care needs that require a greater level of support than assisted living provides. Long-term care can include medical services, but also focuses on providing around-the-clock care assistance with activities of daily living for seniors needing significant support with basic needs. Long-term care services are provided at The Meadows — the five-star rated health center on the Edgewood campus.

Respite Care: provides short-term care for seniors during times when their primary caregivers — usually adult children, another family member or spouse — are unable to tend to their needs. On these occasions, families often look to senior living communities to provide a temporary (respite) home for their loved ones. Edgewood provides Respite Care in the campus’ The Meadows Health Center and The Woodlands Inn buildings. Respite Care residents are provided with accommodations and meals and are encouraged to participate in daily games and activities that foster wellness and socialization. Our team is there to ensure each residents needs are met and support them through the duration of their stay.

Adult Day Program: an option for caregivers who are unable to tend to their older adult loved one’s care needs during the day, Adult Day services are designed to support seniors needs while providing stimulating activities, opportunities to socialize, nutritious meals and supervision. Adult Day services are typically provided on community campuses — for example, Edgewood’s Adult Day program is located on the second floor of the community’s clubhouse. Caregivers who work during the day, have other commitments they must tend to or just need a short break often rely on our community’s Adult Day program to support them in caring for their loved ones.

Home Care: consists of assisted living care services available to seniors at home. For seniors who would prefer to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, home care in Andover, Massachusetts, provides many of the same care services they’d receive if they made the transition to an assisted living community in MA. Edgewood Care Management provides in-home assistance for caregivers supporting an elder loved one. These services include scheduling medical appoints and follow-up care, escorting clients to medical care, evaluation and monitoring of chronic medical conditions and more.

Nursing Home: for seniors in MA with significant care needs who are unable to be cared for in their own homes. Nursing homes provide the most extensive care that seniors can receive outside of a hospital stay, including skilled care services from registered nurses, as well as medical monitoring and treatments. Both long-term care and short-term rehab typically fall under the services included at Nursing Home communities.

LifeCare: also referred to as Continuing Care, LifeCare communities guarantee seniors housing, meals, lifestyle programs, unlimited healthcare services on-site and a full continuum of care that allows them to transition from independent living to higher levels of care on the same campus. Lifecare communities require residents to pay an entrance fee, which covers the costs of all healthcare needs for residents. Edgewood is the only LifeCare community in the Merrimack Valley.

Learn More About Edgewood and Senior Living in MA

Are you finding yourself asking, “What are the senior living options near me?” more often? To get a better understanding of senior living terms, or learn more about all the options Edgewood offers you or your loved one for retirement living, call (978) 222-7747.