What Size Senior Living Community Is Best for Your Parent?

There is no single “correct” answer to that question. While a big sprawling community with upwards of a thousand residents might feel like home to one person, a more intimate setting that houses less than two dozen residents might be best for another. Others would be perfectly content in a 100- to 200-unit community. 

 Often, geographic location plays a big part in making the decision. As much as mom might like to remain in North Carolina, if her children are in Illinois–that distance creates a huge burden on the family. Naturally,  family members will find themselves visiting much more often and being able to interact more with their parent if the community is a reasonable distance from their home or workplace. 

The size of a community is often determined by past living experiences. Those who have always lived in a big city might like a large community with access to more people and the opportunity to make more friends. For those who’ve lived in more rural or suburban areas, they might feel more comfortable in a smaller community.

The advantage of Senior Living communities is that residents have the option of socializing as much or as little as they desire. Whatever the size of the community, the resident can always go back to their own space for some down time.


Many Options as to Size and Type of Community

The Senior Living industry has a diverse range of options that range from very small to very large–and many options in the middle.

Adult care homes with perhaps just four bedrooms, may also be called board and care homes, and are live-in housing and care option for people who do not have skilled medical needs. Generally, a residential care home provides a room, meals, services, transportation and assistance with daily activities.

Large continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) offer a full continuum of care encompassing Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing. The largest CCRC campuses typically have more than 1,000 or 2,000 apartments, plus a full range of amenities and services.

Between these two ends of the spectrum are smaller to mid-sized options. A small community might be 25 to 50 units,  while offering a variety of services, such as home-cooked meals, services and activities.

Cost is another important factor that families typically consider when making a decision about what size and type of community is best for their parent(s). 

Determining Preferences

Adult children should have a conversation with their parents about their senior living preferences—and do so sooner rather than later. 

  • what kind of community their parent would prefer                                                                     
  • what is affordable
  • where would their parent like to live

 Far too many families wait until their parent is in crisis, and then find they don’t know what the senior wants in term of a living environment. The adult children do not know if the senior wants to live in a larger environment or a smaller environment, but they’re forced into a situation because the family has to move so quickly.

Whether the community is large or small, a move into Senior Living provides the opportunity for residents to engage in social interaction. Many seniors are isolated at home and end up moving into a community environment because the need for socialization is critical.


Sunnymere is a small senior community (about 33 residents), providing independent seniors with meals, housekeeping, laundry services and activities. As needed, Assisted Living services can be added–which provide help with grooming, bathing and medication monitoring. Staff is available 24/7. 

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