Frequently asked questions About Senior Living

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Eight Commonly Asked Questions About Assisted Living and Senior Living


The decision to move into senior living or assisted living can be a difficult one for so many reasons. It signals a change of living style, downsizing and often leaving behind a long-held family home.

Baldwin House Senior Living understands how difficult this decision can be, and we’re here to help. Here’s a look at eight commonly asked questions about senior living communities and assisted living, along with their answers, to help seniors and their loved ones make this difficult decision.

1. What is a senior living community?

A senior living community is just what it sounds like — a community of people aged 55 or older. The housing typically consists of apartments, condominiums, villas or mobile homes, but could also be traditional houses in a single neighborhood. Senior living communities may also be called retirement homes, nursing homes or active adult communities.

Senior living communities can include a range of living options, including:

  • Independent living, which means seniors live independently without any regular medical care or assistance with daily living.
  • Assisted living, which can include a range of services like medical care, medication reminders or assistance, help with bathing and other assistance provided by trained staff.
  • Respite care, which enables seniors to stay in a facility and receive medical care or assistance with daily living for a specified period of time.
  • Hospice care, which encompasses a range of palliative medical care for seniors with a terminal diagnosis.

At Baldwin House, we combine independent and assisted living so seniors can receive only the assistance they need, yet remain independent. Seniors and their families can create an individualized plan of care that works for them. We call this level of care independent living with assistance.

2. How is assisted living different from a nursing home?

Nursing homes, also called convalescent homes or long-term care facilities, include skilled nursing care 24 hours per day. Assisted living does not necessarily include 24-hour skilled medical care, but could involve care only certain hours per day or on an as-needed basis.

Baldwin House Senior Living believes in enabling seniors to age in place, remaining independent for as long as possible and having access to care as medical conditions change. We offer 24-hour medical care through our third-party provider. Seniors who choose independent living with assistance can access this medical care as needed, and those in independent living can add medical assistance at any time.

3. What are the benefits of senior living communities?

The list is long, but here are a few of the many benefits associated with a good senior living community that provides activities and assisted living as needed:

  • Maintenance-free living, so seniors can simply enjoy life.
  • Daily or weekly help with housekeeping duties.
  • Restaurant-style meals.
  • Enhanced social life, with planned activities that combat isolation and loneliness.
  • Reliable transportation to appointments, shopping and other activities.
  • Peace of mind in knowing care is available as needed.

4. When is it time to make the move to a senior living community?

The decision to move into a senior living community or seek assisted living is never easy. It can feel like closing a chapter of your life. However, at Baldwin House, our residents frequently tell us they wish they’d moved sooner. So moving to a community like ours can mean the beginning of a new and exciting chapter of life.

The best time for seniors to move into a senior living community is when they have the ability to make decisions for themselves. That way, they can choose the right community, make the decision to have medical assistance available before they need it, create a living will and make other necessary decisions.

The short answer to when is the right time to move into senior living is “the sooner the better.” However, Baldwin House has communities that are equipped to care for seniors who need hospice care, respite care, any type of medical care or assistance with daily living. We’re ready to cross this bridge with our residents whenever they’re ready, and we can accommodate all their needs.

We provide peace of mind not only to seniors, but to their loved ones who may be struggling to keep up on a family home’s maintenance, provide care by themselves or hire skilled care.

5. How long is a typical senior living commitment?

Unlike apartment living, most senior living communities do not require a long-term agreement. In fact, many, like Baldwin House require only a month-to-month commitment – with 30 days notice before leaving – so that individuals can make the right decision to meet their needs at any given time.

6. How much do senior living communities cost?

Not all senior living communities are alike, and there’s a range of services, including medical care, housekeeping, assistance with daily living and more, that can factor into the cost. That said, monthly costs range from $1,000 to $6,000.

When researching prices, be sure to ask for a detailed list of included or available services, so you can effectively compare different communities. 

7. Can Medicare help cover the costs associated with senior living and assisted living?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not help cover senior living or assisted living expenses, however, various programs exist to provide financial assistance and make senior living affordable. Be sure to inquire about which programs are available.

8. What should I ask about when researching senior living communities?

Whenever possible, visit the community in person. You can tell a lot about the atmosphere that way, and you can also speak to residents and staff to get a feel for the environment. Senior living communities often host events like holiday celebrations and meals that are open to the general public.

Inquire about the different levels of care available in the community. For example, Baldwin House communities offer independent living and independent living with assistance, and some offer respite stays and hospice care. You’ll want to know what’s available, even if you don’t currently need it.

Make sure to tour the apartments or other home styles available. Then ask for documentation that includes pricing, resident agreements, contracts, health assessment forms and other requirements for residency. Make sure you understand which fees are due up-front and when other fees are due.

Ask for a calendar of community events and about any recreational activities the community offers. Also ask about transportation to appointments and whether there is a charge for it.


The Gillette family has been serving seniors and their families for more than 40 years with quality senior living. Choose from independent living, independent living with assistance, respite stay and hospice provided by a third party, in Birmingham, Brownstown Township, Clinton Township, Grand Rapids, Hazel Park, Pontiac and Spring Lake​.