Senior living options have changed a lot over the past few decades, and much of that is due to the changing populations in these communities. Currently, more than half of the estimated 1 million residents in assisted living are over the age of 85. But with an estimated 77 million Baby Boomers retiring in the next two decades, independent and assisted living options for seniors are expected to expand in upcoming years.

While some people prefer independent senior housing for a home-like yet simplified lifestyle, others require a higher level of care. If you or a loved one have thought of transitioning to a senior living community, here are some of the independent and assisted living options you might encounter on your search.

Independent Senior Communities

Independent senior living ranges from the basic to the lavish. Many seniors enjoy a community setting in apartments, townhouses, or homes because it’s just like living on their own but typically in a much quieter setting — and with fewer household responsibilities to worry about. Some of these areas can even have a spa-like atmosphere more reminiscent of a vacation destination than the nursing homes of old. Seniors are free to come and go as they please, but they can also call on staff members for assistance with travel, medical care, or other responsibilities as needed.

Assisted Living Facilities

Today’s assisted living options for seniors are often aimed at a personal level of care for any conditions or ailments. Those with mobility issues receive assistance from staff members, and they typically have access to transportation to get to medical appointments. Memory care for treating dementia and Alzheimer’s is common, as are treatments and care for other chronic conditions. Many of these homes can provide the same level of accommodations — from standard to swanky — as the independent communities.

Exploring the Options

When visiting a senior living community of any kind, it’s important to speak with the staff, so they can evaluate your needs or the needs of a loved one. Be sure to ask plenty of questions, and pay attention to what the facility offers. Are you satisfied with how it looks, the amount of community activities it offers, the care provided, and the friendliness of the staff? If you answer yes to those questions, you may be on the right track to choosing a great independent or assisted living community.