As you or your loved ones get older, it makes sense to think about and plan for where to live. Choosing the best senior living arrangement depends on a variety of factors: health and medical needs, personal preference, amenities and cost. Senior living ranges from active retirement communities to full-time residential nursing home care.
Learning about your options helps you focus on those that meet your needs and gives you time to find the best option in your area. First, learn about senior independent living: It is the least disruptive option and is suitable for seniors who are in good health and do not require supervision or much medical intervention.
Aging in Place
In this senior independent living option, the individual stays in his or her current home. This may be either alone or with other family members. To make everyday tasks easier and safer, they may choose to modify their home, with a grab bar in the shower, wheelchair ramp or door knobs that are easy to open with arthritis, for example. When needed, they can rely on in-home or nearby family, neighbors or outside home healthcare for assistance. Aging in place allows seniors to retain independence and is low cost.
Retirement communities, also called age-restricted communities, are only available to those over a certain age, usually 55+. Residents of these communities live in single-family homes, condos, townhouses or apartments and they may own or rent. Senior independent living communities frequently have planned activities and common areas such as pools, clubhouses and golf courses, which not only keep residents active but make it easy to meet new friends their own age. Retirement communities often provide home maintenance and lawn care as well as shuttle transportation for shopping. In addition, senior apartments and common areas are usually designed for people with limited mobility.
While this option will necessitate a move, you will be able to keep your own furniture and belongings, remain independent and retain the financial and tax benefits of home ownership. Homes in these senior living communities may be less expensive than a comparable home that is not age-restricted, and there are no costs other than your mortgage (if you have one) and homeowner association fees.