senior living apartments

Senior Living Guide

If you've seen one assisted living community, you've seen one assisted living community.

Every senior living community has its own set of amenities, procedures, and cost structure. Please be aware that the guidelines below are meant to be a general, high-level overview of the types of senior living options available to you. They will help you understand what distinguishes each type of housing so you can get started on your home search.

Senior Living Amenities

55+ Community Independent Living Assisted Living Nursing Home
Average Age 65 75 80 80
Average Cost $400-$1,900 $2765 $3750 $8121
Level of Personal Freedom Highest Highest Some Limited
Medication Assistance No No Usually Yes
Nursing Care No No Usually Yes
Dressing/Personal Care No No Usually Yes
Laundry/Cleaning Services Sometimes Usually Usually Yes
Community Social Activities No Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes

55+ Community

Also know as:

  • Senior Apartments
  • 62+ Community

These communities are very similar to the apartments or housing units healthy individuals of any age would rent. As you can guess, the difference is that residents must be over the age of 55. Some may specify that all residents must be 62 or older. These facilities provide seniors with a safe community where they are more likely to make friends in their age group. Some communities allow residents to buy their unit outright while others are primarily for renters in the appropriate age range.

Average Monthly Cost: $400 – $1,900

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Independent Living/Senior Living Communities

Also known as:

  • Active adult/senior housing
  • Retirement Community
  • Active senior living
  • Senior Co-op

These communities offer senior housing that provides individuals with autonomy and allows them to live active lives with other seniors. They typically provide residents more support than 55+ Communities. Among Independent Living Communities there is a wide range of support services and amenities available at any given facility. Some may provide coordinated social activities and most will take care of cleaning and housekeeping needs. Meals are frequently included in the price, as are utilities and cable costs. Be aware than the costs will vary widely depending on the location, amenities, and level of care provided at a given community.

Average Monthly Cost: $2,765

Monthly Price Range: $1,399 – $4,000

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Assisted Living Communities

Also known as:

  • Personal Home Care
  • Assisted Living Facility
  • Assisted living residence
  • Residential care
  • Adult congregate care

Assisted Living Communities provide the necessary support for individuals who need help performing daily activities. These may include dressing oneself or keeping up with medications. Assisted living communities frequently create individual service plans (ISPs) for each resident. The purpose of an ISP is to provide each individual resident with the level of support they need while encouraging their independence at the same time. These facilities provide seniors with robust daily services such as meals and housekeeping. Some Assisted Living Communities can handle seniors who need extensive support with daily functions such as feeding oneself. They may also be appropriate for individuals who have experienced a loss of cognitive function. Make sure the Assisted Living Community you are considering offers the proper level of support, as they can vary widely in the types of assistance provided.

Average Monthly Cost: $3,750 for a private bedroom

Monthly Price Range: Varies depending on level of support required. In addition to the monthly base rate, some facilities will also charge a care service, medication, or other ancillary fees each month.

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Nursing Homes

Also known as:

  • Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
  • Convalescent home

Nursing homes provide the highest level of support for seniors who can no longer be cared for in the home, such as those affected by cognitive or physical impairments. They are designed for individuals who are in need of around the clock support and access to skilled nursing care. Nursing homes are certified at the state level by the Department of Health and have skilled nurses on hand 24 hours a day. They are frequently set up like hospitals, with nursing stations on most most floors and residents in rooms along a central corridor. Some seniors may be staying in a nursing home short-term as they recover from a procedure and need 24 hour care. In some situations, staying in a nursing home will be part of a discharge plan after a senior's hospital stay. In these situations, Medicare may cover some of the costs. 

Average Monthly Cost: $8,121 for a private bedroom

Monthly Price Range: $2,000 – $20,000 for a private bedroom

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Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

CCRCs combine independent living, assisted living, nursing home, and hospice into one facility or a single campus. This allows seniors to remain in one place as they age and their needs change over time. Most residents start off their time in a CCRC living independently and some will remain until their death. For this reason, there are several types of contracts available when entering a CCRC. It is possible to sign a life care or extended contract which provides for coverage from the time of an individual’s entry until their passing. A CCRC is usually the most expensive option for seniors or their relatives, but it provides individuals with the ability to age in place. If you are looking for a CCRC, plan to pay a hefty one-time entrance fee as well as monthly charges.

One-Time Entry Fee: $100, 000 – $1 million

Average Monthly Cost: $3,000 – $5,000

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