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Understanding Senior Housing: Which Option Is Right for You?

Senior housing options are varied. They cover a continuum, ranging from single-family homes with no services to nursing homes with medical care.  Key differences include costs, amenities, personal support, and social activities. While every situation is different, choosing the best senior housing option doesn’t need to be difficult.  

Below we’ll explain the types of housing available and the advantages and challenges of each type. Whether you’re choosing a place to live for yourself or for a loved one, this information can help you make the best choice for your current situation as well help you plan for the future.


As a senior, living in a single-family house gives you both independence and privacy. However, there are the challenges of the property’s upkeep. If you’re currently living in a house and want to stay there, there are some questions that you can consider to help you plan your silver years. First, can your home equity be better used for healthcare or for enjoying yourself? For example, downsizing to a smaller place could free up your money and time to travel more.

Next, does your house have the environment that you need? For example, do you need single-floor living or increased access to healthcare facilities? Also, do you have adequate access to services via driving, walking, or public transportation? Do you have a strong community and social circle in your neighborhood?

While there is much to consider if a single-family house is the right space to live, it’s also worth considering any home modifications that can be done to accommodate your changing needs. And keep in mind that home care services can provide personal and health support in your home. Services include meal preparation, transportation, bathing, medications, and more. Providers offer various plans from weekly services to 24-hour care.


For seniors, the advantages of living in an apartment are the flexibility of location and less responsibility. Yet the challenges can be that renters must abide by apartment restrictions such as pet ownership and modifications. The costs of apartment living are variable depending on the apartment’s location, size, and amenities. Available rentals include luxury apartments, cheap apartments, and everything in between.

Some of the similar considerations of living in a single-family house apply to seniors living in apartments. Do you have adequate access to services via driving, walking, or public transportation? Do you have a strong community in your neighborhood? If you need assistance, can home modifications help you remain in your home? And while apartments offer no facilities or services themselves, home care services are available to provide assistance such as meal preparation, transportation, bathing, medications, and more.

Senior Apartment

Designed for those aged 55+ or 62+, senior apartments may have accommodation to the physical space such as single-floor living or wider doorways, and the age restrictions on the community will ensure that you’re among your peers. Keep in minds that in most senior apartments, there are not many services available, although in some situations housekeeping or meals may be purchased at additional cost. And outside of the apartment facility, you can contract with home care services as you would in a house or standard apartment.

Living in a community of elders presents many socialization options, and often there are scheduled activities and fitness classes. As to costs, options range from upscale apartments to low-rent solutions where costs are calculated based on income.

Active Adult Community

In an active adult community, the focus is on scheduled activities and community engagement. The strong social community often includes fitness classes and group outings. You’ll have the privacy of a condo or a house and often maintenance is included. Costs are variable, and there is typically no medical care provided by the facility. However, as with other options, home care services are available to provide health or personal assistance as needed. In some cases, the property may include housekeeping services or meals may be purchased at an additional cost.

Independent Living

In an independent living facility, seniors still maintain some of the self-sufficiency and independence of other housing types, but more assistance is available. As to costs, the more hospitality and services that are offered, the higher the monthly costs you should expect. Available services can include housekeeping, community meals, and laundry. And if needs escalate, home care services can work in tandem with independent living facilities to include medical care and other services. Because you’ll be living among peers, there are typically many socialization options, including scheduled activities and fitness classes.

Assisted Living

At an assisted living facility, there are levels of help available depending on the senior’s need. This assistance can include meals, bathing, dressing, medication, and housekeeping. The challenges can be that there is a lack of privacy and that assisted living does not have the level of medical care services that a nursing home provides. Typically there are scheduled recreation activities, transportation, and social opportunities. As to cost, some communities are all-inclusive while others offer à la carte services.

Additionally, there are Residential Care Homes that provide the same level of care as Assisted Living, but in a more private setting with a high staff-to-patient ratio. They’re typically more affordable but have fewer social activities. Keep in mind that assisted living facilities can also be one aspect of a continuing care community which offers a continuum of services so residents don’t have to move when their needs evolve.

Memory Care

Memory care facilities are specialized for the needs of Alzheimer’s patients or other memory-based conditions. Not only does the staff have special training for these conditions, but the security and the layout of the facility are designed for the specific needs of memory patients, including disorientation and a tendency to wander. Typically, memory care facilities have higher costs than assisted living. These properties also are designed for the progression of cognitive ailments and are at times part of a continuing care community so that residents don’t have to move when their needs evolve.

Nursing Home

With 24-hour nursing supervision, nursing homes offer a high level of care. However, this care can come at a high cost. Facilities offer assistance for residents who are bedridden, wheelchair-bound or need daily medical attention. And residence in these facilities does not necessarily need to be permanent. A nursing home can be a place to recover from a heart attack or stroke when needs are higher. Plus, a nursing home can be a part of a continuing care retirement community to support residents’ changing needs.

So what type of senior housing is right for you? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.

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  • Rafael Henriquez

    About :

    Rafael (Raf) is the Targeted Content Writer & Strategist for,,, and He helps create, edit, and plan content that connects current and potential renters with apartment and property managers and owners. When Raf isn’t busy writing, he spends a great deal of his time performing sketch and improv comedy, hanging out at the beach, and looking at memes on the Internet.

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