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Choosing A Community

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Choosing a community and living arrangement for your loved one involves a deep awareness of their needs as well as a clear understanding of the various models of care and facilities. Discover how Sonoma House’s unique composition and services compare to other options you may be considering.

This checklist is a useful tool you can use when evaluating and choosing a community.

Download this helpful PDF.

Sonoma House

Traditional Large Facility

Resident’s Home


Creates a home environment for elders that cannot be duplicated at home or in a large facility, while still meeting their needs for assistance in daily living.

Provides assistance with activities of daily living in non-nursing environment.

Allows a person to age in place in their home or with family.


A purpose-built home with 16 units for 16 elders.

Usually 65+ units divided into separate areas for Assisted Living and Memory Care for 80 -100 residents.

Elders may no longer need the size home they once did, but find it hard to downsize.


Residents receive the benefits of direct care without the high cost involved with in-home health care. Fees cover the cost of housing, utilities, food, assistance with daily living, and recreation.

Typically more affordable than in-home care. The fees for assisted living include housing, utilities, food, and recreation. There can sometimes be additional charges for assistance with daily living.

Home care is generally more costly than assisted living. Since home care is paid on an hourly basis, costs can vary widely. Home health care only covers direct care services, not the cost of food, utilities, and mortgage or rent.


Decisions made by elders or person closest to elders as often as possible. Elders are included whenever possible in decisions on menus, activities and house routines.

Decisions made by organizational leadership that may not personally know you or your family member.

Elders responsible for making decisions relating to finances, medical care and care of home.


Easy access: fenced, shaded, and in full view of living area and kitchen to allow observation by caregivers.

Often challenging to access, particularly without assistance or supervision.

Most homes have not been retrofitted with the necessary improvements that would allow the backyard to be safe or easily accessible without help.


Central living room with an adjacent open kitchen and dining area, with a short distance to bedrooms.

Lounges and dining rooms usually at the end of long corridors.

Homes may not be as convenient or safe to move about in as they once were.


One dining table provides a focal point for community meals and family-style dining with times chosen by elders.

Large dining rooms with many residents eating at separate tables at prescheduled times.

Often when elders live alone they do not always get the needed nutrition required to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


A universal worker offering direct care, laundry, housekeeping, activities, and meal preparation services.

Departmental with segmented and specialized tasks.

Home health care and/or additional care from family members is usually required.


Family can participate in meals and other meaningful engagements. Family celebrations and holidays can occur in a home setting.

Limited ability to participate. Usually has set hours for visitation.

When elders live alone or do not have family close by they can become isolated and despondent.

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