How to Select a Senior Friendly Apartment
When the time comes to look for senior housing, so many options are available, from independent care to assisted living, from affordable to luxury apartments.
Reasons for moving to senior-friendly apartments vary and can include going through a divorce, becoming financially unable to continue making payments on a mortgage, death or relocation of relatives or friends, needing emotional support, desiring more close-to-home social activities, selling a home to free up equity or just a desire to be rid of the daily chores of home and garden maintenance.
If you feel a bit overwhelmed by all the options, just learning what all of your choices are can help you decide what the right senior apartment is for you or a loved one. Here are the main things you need to consider for moving into a senior-friendly apartment:
Often, senior apartments aren’t just targeting the demographic, but limited in who can live there. In general, you’ll find two different age restrictions:
- 55 and up: For these, 80% of the apartments in the building must have at least one occupant 55 or older. There can be someone in those apartments under 55, and the other 20% of the units can be rented out to anyone.
- 62 and up: These are far stricter. All residents must be 62 or older, without exceptions.
These communities usually have a wide range of recreational and social activities and are designed for independent seniors who can live on their own but want to be part of a community. They offer little or no health services, such as on-site pharmacies or nursing care, but often have a variety of services on the campus, such as laundry facilities, transportation or cafeterias. Some of these villages have age restrictions (typically 55-plus), and some don’t. Some independent living complexes have constant planned events, such as socials, group outings and exercise classes, and others offer minimal activities.
The good news of there being such variety is that you can find whatever you’re looking for. Want a quiet retirement? Find a community without a lot of activities. Want non-stop activities? You can find that. Looking to sell your car? Find a place you can easily walk or get a bus to wherever you need to go. If your health is generally good, an independent living apartment can offer anything you’d want.
These stop short of being nursing homes while still combining housing and healthcare. If you or a loved one has trouble with daily living, like bathing, grooming, or medication, but is still able to mostly function day to day, this might be the right choice. They also often include meals, housekeeping, and laundry services, meaning that you have to worry about far fewer chores.
Of special note is looking for assistance with medications. There are different regulations by state, so what assistance they can provide will vary greatly. If you are generally healthy but only require assistance with routine daily activities, assisted living communities are ideal for you.
Paying for it
All of this comes with a cost, and senior living can add up to be expensive. If you don’t have a lot of money, there are some options to help. Outside of the general Section 8 housing, there are some programs that help with housing specifically for seniors. There’s Section 202, which is specifically to help build housing for the elderly with low incomes. There’s also Section 811, which while not specifically for seniors provides for housing for people with disabilities. If you’re having trouble affording senior living, check to see if you’re eligible for either of these programs, which can help greatly.