Considering Your Own Needs:
Retirement should be enjoyable, and enjoyment means different things to different people. When deciding on a Senior Apartment, the first thing you want to consider is location. Some people choose Senior Apartments because it’s an easy and affordable way to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Some people choose Senior Apartments based of the amenities they offer and their ability to provide easy access to enjoyable activities. Some people find enjoyment in living right in their favorite city, near museums, theaters, and cultural events. Ask yourself what you want most out of moving to a Senior Apartment, and get clear about which locations are going to best support your personal goals.
Another important factor, is knowing how much care you require on a daily basis. Senior living is geared toward those individuals who are still active, healthy, and able to meet their own basic needs. Many people in wheelchairs fall under this category, and many Senior Apartments have accommodations for these dynamic individuals. Know what you need to be safe, comfortable, and secure, and then narrow your search using these requirements as your criteria.
- How is my mobility? Should I avoid complexes with stairs?
- Do I require access to emergency medical assistance?
- Who/ what would I enjoy living nearby?
- What types of businesses and facilities would be nice to have at walking distance?
- Do I require/ Do I want housekeeping services? Transportation? A fitness center?
- How do I want this transition to benefit me and improve my life?
Before you focus too much on the financial aspects of your move, be sure to get really clear on exactly what you want out of your experience with Senior Apartment living. Find your number one reason, and use that as your first filter for narrowing your search.
Finding Senior Apartment Complexes:
Of course, the internet is going to be your best first resource for discovering what Senior Apartment living is available in the area you wish to live. Your best bet is to just do a search for Senior Apartments in the exact locations you are interested in.
If you are seeking low-income/ affordable Senior Apartments, HUD provides a quick search resource for finding what is available. You can also put in an application to be considered for residence from the same resource. Keep in mind that low-income/ affordable Senior Apartments are typically full, and most of them have a waiting list. If you meet the low-income requirements in your state and wish to seek out this type of Senior living, we recommend putting in an application for as many complexes as you can, because you never know which one will come through first. If you find yourself in a situation where you may become homeless or you are in danger, be sure to contact them directly as exceptions can be made in such circumstances.
Another resource for finding low-income/ affordable senior housing is The AHEPA National Housing Corporation. This is a wonderful non-profit organization that helps senior citizens based on their income guidelines to find low-income Senior Apartments. They do this by connecting you with a property manager in your area who can help.
The AHEPA National Housing Corporation is also an excellent resource for anyone who ha specific questions about the Senior Apartments in your community. They can help you refine your search by determining which Senior Apartments offer regular onsite medical services, or which ones have nutritional programs. You can even call them to find out if there are any Senior Apartments near your favorite theater, or a community college offering classes you are interested in. AHEPA is a free service offered to seniors to help them refine their search for the perfect Senior Apartment.
Considering Different Senior Apartment Complexes:
You can save yourself a lot of money by knowing which features and amenities you will actually use, and which one you won’t. Some Senior Apartments include all the amenities in the rent, while others charge extra fees for occasional conveniences such as housekeeping and transportation. If you know you are going to want regular transportation, you may want to find a complex that includes transportation in a flat fee. If you are only going to use the transportation once in awhile, it may be best to choose a place where you can pay as you go. Small details like this are huge money savers when deciding which Senior Apartment is right for you.
Again, it all comes back to get very clear on what you need and what you want. Different complexes have different policies, and while most of them offer some of the same basic features, the fine print can be very different. Depending on your own preferences, it’s important to ask the right questions when narrowing down your search for a Senior Apartment. When you set up a tour, seek to answer some key questions about your experience.
- Did the staff and residents seem friendly and happy?
- Are these apartments near things and people that I enjoy?
- Are the residents using the common areas?
- Are the grounds well-kept?
- Are there nearby conveniences?
- What is within walking distance?
- Are the apartment floor plans well-suited to my mobility?
- Are there safety bars in the bathrooms?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Are there basic features like smoke detectors and fire alarms?
- Can I easily access counters, drawers, and cupboards?
We recommend you bring along a small notebook with your own personal checklist, so you can easily compare the pros and cons of the different Senior Apartments you tour.
Make sure you ask some probing questions of your guide as well.
- How often to they receive complaints? (If you read reviews and research the facility online first, you can get a pretty good idea of how transparent the person is being with you.)
- What is included in the price of the rent? What features cost extra? Any other fees?
- What is there guest policy?
- Is there anyone under the age of 55 living in the complex?
- How often are group activities organized?
- What kind of access to exercise does the complex offer? A fitness center? Group classes? Is there a walking path nearby?
- How involved is the complex in encouraging social interaction?
- What seems to be the most popular or favorite activity or aspect about the complex?
How Much Does Senior Apartment Living Cost?
When it comes to cost, and how to afford your Senior Apartment, there are three general price brackets: Low-income/ affordable Senior living, Market rate Senior living, and Luxury Senior living.
Retirement savings are always the optimal way to cover these expenses, but in the low-income bracket that isn’t always an option. Let’s talk about the low-income/ affordable living bracket first.
What it means to be low-income varies depending on the local cost of living. What affordable senior housing usually means is that the renter pays no more than 30% of their income toward rent and utilities. There are also several federal, state, and local laws that provide additional funding to low-income Senior Citizens. You must apply in order to qualify, but once you do, the state will award you vouchers that will allow you to set up residence in certain Senior Apartment complexes. If you are low-income, get qualified as soon as possible so you can being to review your options.
Market rate Senior Apartments are available to Senior citizens at a 15% discount off the regular apartment rates in the area. These are the apartment complexes where you typically start to see more senior-focused amenities. Many residents in these communities chose to liquidate some of their assets, such as selling their home, or taking out a reverse mortgage.
Luxury Senior living in mainly defined by it’s prime location, and upscale amenities. The residents typically have a lot more personal space, up to 2,000 square feet. The apartments are actually more like condominiums or townhomes in a lot of cases. People who choose luxury Senior apartments are usually able to pay out of pocket.
Whichever option fits you best, remember what you want most out the experience. Where you live matters, and your retirement choices should contribute to making your life easier, and more enjoyable.
Senior Apartments can be an ideal living situation for active seniors, looking for a healthy, less expensive lifestyle.