Senior Housing Guide: Senior Apartments & More | After55.com

TYPES OF SENIOR HOUSING

Senior housing includes a wide range of options for yourself or your loved one, from apartments for independent living, to homes for sale or rent; from assisted living, Alzheimer's or memory care, to nursing homes for those who need help with daily living activities. Bridging the types are continuing care retirement communities. Housing types may be for all ages or, more often, age-restricted for adults 55+ or 62+.

Learn more about senior housing types below.

For Independent Adults

Apartments

Multifamily rental housing for people of all ages, with a lease agreement.

Senior Apartments

Some apartments are specifically designed for older adults and are age-restricted, for 55 plus or 62 plus. These senior apartments serve residents with senior-friendly features, amenities, activities, fitness classes and more. Medical and personal care usually is not included, though in some cases,however, housekeeping, meals and other services may be purchased at an additional cost.

Independent Living

Communities offering an independent lifestyle with the benefits of a full-service community. You have the right to live in such housing even if you are unable to live independently but keep in mind that most independent living facilities do not offer medical care or personal assistance. However, you may hire in-home help separately. Independent living may incorporate apartments, condos or homes.

May include:

  • Prepared Meals
  • Transportation
  • Planned recreational activities
  • All-inclusive rent
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry services

Learn much more in After55.com's Independent Living Guide.

Homes for Sale or Rent

For sale sign in front of a house, a type of senior housing.

Single-family dwellings that may or may not be exclusive to older persons. Homes for rent or sale that are specifically for older adults will specify age restrictions. These age-qualified homes are located in retirement communities. Services offered often include a community clubhouse, recreational activities, and the convenience of low- to no-maintenance living. These communities may be governed by homeowners’ associations. Unless specified, these homes do not offer any medical or personal surveillance services.

Manufactured Homes

Factory-built houses, on a permanent chassis, installed on site. If manufactured homes are age-restricted, they will be identified as such. Age-qualified senior residences are often located in communities tailored to senior citizens with amenities such as landscaping, maintenance, and planned social and recreational activities. Generally, these senior residential communities do not provide medical or personal assistance. Learn more about manufactured homes from the Manufactured Housing Institute and HUD.gov.

For Seniors Who Want Or Need Assistance

Assistant with older woman.

Assisted Living

Also referred to as adult living communities and supported care facilities. Assisted living communities promote independence but offer levels of personal assistance with daily activities, which may include meals, bathing, dressing and medication. Options range from full apartments to shared rooms, based on preference and budget.

May include:

  • Prepared Meals
  • Housing and health care
  • 24-hour staff
  • Transportation
  • Housekeeping
  • Planned recreational activities
  • Laundry services
  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADL)

Learn much more in After55.com's Assisted Living Guide.

Alzheimer's/Memory Care

Also referred to as Alzheimer's special care units or memory care units. These communities provide a safe and supportive environment for those with Alzheimer's disease or related dementias. Memory care units are staffed with skilled nurses and medical personnel. Many times they are set up to minimize wandering, common in patients with memory problems. Memory care may exist within another housing category such as nursing homes or assisted living. Learn more from the Alzheimer's Association.

May include:

  • Daily Meals
  • Medication management
  • 24-hour supervised care
  • Physical therapy
  • Planned social programs
  • Housekeeping and laundry services

For Adults Who May Need Help Later

Older woman painting outdoors.

Continuing Care Retirement Community

Also known as life plan communities, continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, offer a continuum of care across housing types. CCRCs allow seniors to live in the same facility for the rest of their lives, aging in place. Seniors may enter a CCRC in independent living, then as needs increase, move to assisted living and, if necessary, to nursing care on premises. Learn more about CCRCs from the AARP.

May include:

  • Prepared Meals
  • Housing and health care
  • Planned recreational activities
  • 24-hour staff
  • Transportation
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry services
  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADL)

Please note that the above definitions are general in nature, provided to help you with your housing search. The actual terminology and definitions are dependent on the statutes of your State or local governments.

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ABOUT ALL-AGE AND AGE-RESTRICTED HOUSING

All-Age Communities

All-age communities have no leasing restrictions on age. You may find yourself surrounded by young families or single older people -- great if you want to interact with people of all ages. All-age communities typically do not include services that could be offered in age-restricted communities, such as maintenance and housekeeping.

Age-Restricted
Communities (55+ or 62+)

An age-restricted community requires a minimum age to rent or buy. These communities have either a 55 and over or 62 and over age restriction. Types of communities that may be age-restricted are:

  • Apartments
  • Single family homes
  • Manufactured homes

Many 55+ or 62+ communities have golf courses, swimming pools and fitness centers. These communities, however, do not include daily assistance or medical surveillance. Learn more about the requirements of age-restricted housing from HUD.

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