What Types of Senior Apartments are Available?
Senior apartments will vary greatly in terms of size and general layout. Depending on the complex, there are a few basic layouts that you will typically encounter.
- Studio Apartments- Some Senior Apartments will offer studios which consist of one large open layout for the bedroom, kitchen and dining area, and a separate room for the bathroom.
- Suite-Style Apartments- In this arrangement, each senior has their own private bedroom and they share common areas (living room, kitchen, bathroom) with other seniors.
- Multi-Room Apartments (Condos or Townhomes)- This arrangement offers the greatest amount of space and privacy. This is a great option for people who would feel more comfortable transitioning into a space that feels more like their own home as opposed to a communal situation.
Every Senior Apartment complex should be designed with one main objective in mind: to accommodate the needs of it’s senior residents. To accomplish this, there are many basic features offered to keep the apartments safe, accessible and enjoyable.
- Some apartments may have very few or no stairs
- Disability accessible units to accommodate wheelchairs
- Handrails in the bathrooms and walk-in showers
- Minimum age requirements (55 and older) to prevent the noise of children and young people that have very different lifestyles, from causing any disturbances
- No yard or basic home maintenance to be concerned about
- The freedom to travel without worrying about the property
These are just some of the standard features one can expect to find in most Senior Apartments. Depending on the price point and the area of location, the amenities found in a Senior Apartment complex can sometimes include housekeeping, dining options, transportation, and organized group functions.
What Is the Cost of Senior Apartments?
For your reference, there are three basic categories for Senior Apartments: Low-Income/ Affordable Senior Living, Market Rate Senior Living, and Luxury Senior Living.
Low-Income/ Affordable Senior Living:
The majority of senior citizen designated apartments are rented from a property manager, and are considered low-income housing for seniors. In most states, affordable means a resident pays no more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities, so the cost is on a sliding scale. To qualify for a low-income Senior Apartment, you have meet certain guidelines that Cary from state to state.
Typically your income must be at or below what is considered low for your region, and you also can’t have assists in your name that can be used to generate income. These rates and guidelines are determined by state and federal agencies, and are sometimes referred to as HUD- sponsored senior housing. Some of the options that fall under this category include:
- Privately owned apartment complexes with reduced rent for senior citizens
- Public housing in regular apartments which have a section set aside of senior residents
- Section 8 Housing for seniors who want to use Section 8 to pay rent for their apartment
When choosing low-income/ affordable senior living, it’s important to remember that many of these options in most areas will have waiting lists. In some cases, being homeless or in unsafe living conditions can sometimes speed up the process of finding a low-income Senior Apartment.
Market Rate Senior Living:
Senior apartments in this category are offered at rates competitive with the current market, which typically means 15% lower than regular apartments in the area. At this cost, these Senior Apartments typically offer more amenities such as social activities, community dining, daily housekeeping, and transportation.
Luxury Senior Living:
Luxury senior living is often based largely on location. Typically, these types of complexes are in nicer areas of big cities, and are centrally located near cultural and recreational activities. A Luxury Senior Apartments may more closely resemble an entire home, and can be up to 2,000 square feet. The upscale amenities offered by these Senior Apartments are numerous.
They often include clubhouses, swimming pools, fitness centers with daily classes, and on-site convenience stores. The cost of these services are comparable to the regular housing in the area, and come often exceed the market values depending on the amenities offered.
Once you choose which option is right for you, you can begin to explore the many ways fund your Senior Apartment. Retirement savings is always the optimal way to pay for Senior Apartments. If you are planning to pay out-of-pocket, its very common for residents to sell their existing home or take out a reverse mortgage. Having assets such as this as a resource, will often cover the bulk of your living expenses. Some residents have chosen to cash in on life insurance policies to pay for this Senior Apartment lifestyle. For low-income/ affordable Senior Apartments, you can find sponsorship through HUD by filling out an application. There are many options within every income bracket, and its important to consider all of your available resources.
Senior Apartments: Renting vs. Buying
If you are interested in purchasing your Senior Apartment, you are going to want to consider continuing care retirement communities (CCRC). Most senior apartments aren’t purchased outright, but within continued care retirement communities, seniors have the option to buy into either condos, apartments, or single-family houses. When you become a shareholder within these communities, you are guaranteeing yourself multi-leveled care options as you grow older and require more assistance with activities of daily living. Every type of housing a senior may require, is typically included in most CCRCs.
- Senior Apartments
- Active Senior Housing
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Nursing homes
- Hospice Care
This variety of service, allows the residents to transition easily without having to pay more money for different levels of care throughout their retirement years.
What Services Are Offered in Senior Apartments?
Services and amenities vary greatly depending of the price and the location. Here is a list of what is generally offered by many Senior Apartment Complexes:
- Choice of private or semi-private rooms
- Choice of fully furnished or unfurnished
- Large walk-in showers and safety bars in the bathrooms
- Climate control features
- Community functions and activities
- Laundry rooms
Premium amenities, made available mostly to Market Rate and Luxury Senior Apartments Include:
- Onsite pharmacies, hair salons, and convenience stores
- Daily recreational group activities such as yoga, walking tours, and organized trips to cultural and recreational events
- Transportation for shopping, medical appointments, church attendance, and local attractions
- Housekeeping that may include linen and laundry service
- 24-hour emergency call systems/ onsite emergency staff
Senior Apartments can be an ideal living situation for Seniors who are still active and able to meet their own basic needs. If you or your loved one finds themselves in need of assistance with activities of daily living such as getting out of bed and dressed, bathing, eating, or monitoring medication schedules, you may want to consider residential assisted living as an alternative to Senior Apartments.
When to Move to Senior Apartments
Senior Apartments communities appeal to people for a variety of reasons. Some common situations that make Senior Apartments ideal are:
- People who want to eliminate home and yard maintenance from their daily lives
- Recently divorced seniors
- People who want to travel more but feel restricted by maintaining a property
- People who are wishing to relocate to be closer to friends and family
- People who wish to downsize
- People seeking lower-cost living that is free of property taxes and general upkeep
- People wanting to be around other seniors with similar interests, low noise pollution, and a general sense of community
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, senior housing can only be offered to people who are 55 years and older. Some communities require seniors to be at least 62 years old to qualify for residency.
Senior Apartments are an excellent option for anyone still active and over the age of 55, who is looking for low maintenance, lower-cost living. It’s also a wonderful solution for moving closer to family and friends after retirement. Many people choose Senior Living because they’ve realized how much easier and more fun life could be without the hassles of property maintenance.
FAQ Senior Apartments
- Are senior apartments only for seniors?
Not always! Some low-income Senior Apartments will make a few exceptions depending on the circumstances. In order to qualify as a senior living complex, HUD stipulates that the community be 80% occupied by senior citizens. This means that 20% of residents can be younger. Deciding whether or not to allow someone under the age of 55 to move into a Senior Apartment is really left up to the property manager’s discretion. The most common allowances made are for grandchildren who live with their grandparents due to extenuating circumstances.
- Will there be access to immediate medical care?
Not typically. Senior Apartments are designed for active, healthy seniors without disabilities or impairing diseases. Seniors requiring a high-level of daily care should consider residential assisted living or retirement communities that provide medical services.
- Can Senior Apartments accommodate disability?
Yes, but not all Senior Apartments will provide extra considerations for people who have disabilities. If you have difficulty walking, for example, you know you want to find a complex without stairs. You can always check to make sure the complex you are considering has plenty of handicapped parking, elevators, ramps, and bathroom facilities to determine if the situation is right for you.
- Can I have overnight family/guests?
Yes, but often only for a limited and specified amount of time. The policy on overnight guests in usually defined very clearly in the terms of your lease. Some complexes ask that the guests are cleared with management in advance.
Being a Senior Citizen today means living longer, more actively and socially engaged lives. Senior Apartments can be the perfect solution for freeing yourself from the inconveniences of property maintenance, driving restrictions, and social isolation. Senior Apartments are a choice to be enjoyed by those who want have a regular morning coffee crew, play a few rounds of tennis, of catch a matinee in a nearby theatre. Ask yourself what kind of activities you enjoy the most and then find a Senior Apartment complex that is going to make it easy and enjoyable to fill your life with enjoyment.