TGG_WEB_BlogPillarPageHero_1600x300_FINAL

Guide to Senior Living Options

Which is Right for YOU OR Your Loved One?


When searching for senior living for yourself or a loved one, many people feel confused or overwhelmed by all of the options. If you are starting your search, undoubtedly you want to make the right decision for the whole family. With so many choices — and so many different types of senior living communities, services and programs — it can be hard to make sense of it all. Know that you are not alone.

To see how others have navigated this journey, we invite you to watch the below video highlighting Wendy's experience in her search for a senior living community as an adult daughter.

 
 
 
Video Thumbnail
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1:34
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Read the full article with Wendy's suggestions.

Thousands of adult children and families, just like you, are starting to do their research and embarking on their senior living journey. Many need assistance to begin and we can help! We will walk you through the whole transition and help you understand topics ranging from senior living terminology to finding the right fit for you or your loved one, and everything between.

Please take a look through our guide below for some easy-to-understand, yet detailed, descriptions of the various senior living options available. This process goes beyond finding suitable housing. It’s about finding a new home that meets financial and health care needs, as well as a chance to build new friendships, rediscover purpose, and enrich one’s life.

Table of Contents

 



Senior Apartments

TGG_Blog_PillarPageHeaders_628x250_1

Senior apartments offer true independent living – true in the sense that virtually no care services are included. These communities serve residents 55 years of age and older, although some may have a minimum age of 62. They are an ideal choice for those who are able to meet their day-to-day needs with little or no assistance. Most of these apartment communities offer conveniences and TGG_Icon_BlogPillarPage_SeniorApartmentsamenities geared toward their independent senior residents. Please note: these communities operate on basic landlord and tenant laws and are not regulated by state health care requirements, as assisted living communities are.

“Often times, at our age, it’s tough to move to a condominium or a new city and start over at the age of 80 because everybody has their friends and they got their cliques. But the senior communities, everybody is looking for the same thing - new friends. I’ve seen that people in these situations are looking forward to meeting new people, even if they won’t admit it, they are.”

- Gretta, MN

What Amenities to Look For

Independent senior apartments vary greatly in their offerings. It’s a good idea to make a list of the conveniences and services that are most important to you. For many seniors, location tops the list, whether to be near family and friends, or near their favorite activities, or both. After that, what matters most is a very personal decision. Here are some of the most common amenities or offerings typically included in the monthly rent:

  • Utilities. Most senior apartment rental fees include gas, electric, water, trash and recycling services. Many now also include complimentary Wi-Fi in common areas and basic cable TV. Often phone, expanded cable packages and Wi-Fi for personal use, such as streaming videos, shows or other online applications, are the responsibility of the resident.
  • Maintenance. Most maintenance repairs and updates are covered, including apartment and appliance repairs as well as safety and code upgrades. The resident is usually responsible for decorating costs such as painting or window treatments. Be sure to check for restrictions on the changes a resident can make to their apartment. You may have to pay to return it to original condition when moving out.
  • Housekeeping services. Some communities offer light housekeeping or linen services. Laundry services may be available for an additional fee.
  • Fitness. Many communities have fitness rooms or fully-equipped gyms, which may be complementary to residents. Classes such as yoga or Pilates, or access to personal trainers, are usually an additional charge.
  • Transportation. Buses or vans may be available to take residents grocery shopping or to off-site events like a museum visit or theater performance. Often these are pre-scheduled, group outings. There may be an extra charge for personal use.
  • On-site services. These services may include a salon, restaurant, community dining room, or even physical therapy or massage services. These are typically provided on an à la carte basis.

What Questions Should You Ask When Touring  Senior Apartments?

Costs

Costs vary by location, size of apartment, and community amenities, and can range from $500 to several thousand per month. Be sure to ask about community fees and security deposits prior to signing a lease. Also, it may cost extra for parking, storage or pets.

There are also a number of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsored independent senior housing options in most markets that offer affordable housing for 55+. Residents qualify based on their income. Visit HUD.gov for more information.

Some communities require a one-year lease, while others offer a month-to-month lease. And, some have seasonal rates for snowbirds. Decide what works best for you or your loved one.



Independent Senior Living

TGG_Blog_PillarPageHeaders_628x250_2

Unlike senior apartments, independent senior living offers an apartment, townhome, or single-unit for those 55 or 62 years of age and older with service-rich offerings. TGG_Icon_BlogPillarPage_IL_AL_MC_RespiteThese communities are considered “housing with services” and can be regulated by state health care laws. Many times independent living is available in the same building or campus setting with other living options such as assisted living or memory care.

More and more seniors are choosing independent senior living communities. These are ideal for individuals who need minimal assistance with daily tasks yet desire living in a community with other seniors.

"The greatest part of living here is that I don’t have to buy groceries or cook! I can’t find a better way of saying that I am just content here. I am so happy."

-Betty, resident at Terracina Grand

What Services and Amenities to Look For

Independent senior living services and amenities vary tremendously but listed below are the basics you’ll find at most communities. It’s a good idea to make a list of your personal requirements and “must haves” to add to this list. In most areas of the country, you’ll be able to find an ideal match. In some communities you can add on assisted living health care services without moving to a different apartment or out of the community. If this is important to you or your loved one, check with the executive director on what kind of license they operate under and what services are available.

  • Utilities. Most rental fees include gas, electric, water, trash and recycling. Many now also include complimentary Wi-Fi in common areas and basic cable TV. Phone, expanded cable packages, and Wi-Fi for personal use, such as streaming videos, shows or other online applications, are the responsibility of the resident.
  • Maintenance. Most maintenance repairs and updates are covered, including in-home and appliance repairs as well as exterior maintenance. Residents can usually add window treatments and accent wall colors out-of-pocket.
  • Groundskeeping. Communities are typically responsible for groundskeeping of communal areas. Some communities may include lawn mowing and snow removal on a resident’s property; in other cases, those services may be provided on an à la carte basis. Container plantings are encouraged but there may be restrictions on landscaping or in-ground gardening. Please check before you move-in.
  • Housekeeping services. Some communities offer light housekeeping or linen services. Laundry services may be available for an additional fee. Residents can add additional services on an à la carte basis.
  • Dining. Most independent senior living communities offer restaurant-style dining. Some may have chefs preparing the food, while others may serve chef-inspired meals. Most communities can accommodate special dietary needs. You will find many options for dining services. For example, a resident could purchase a one-, two-, or three-meal per day plan. Some communities include one or two meals per day in the monthly rent. Others work on a per-meal a la carte basis. If you expect to use on-site dining services, be sure to ask about the options and ability to change your plan once you really know how much you’ll use it.
  • Fitness. Many communities have fitness centers, and some even have pools, which may be included in the rent. Sometimes there’s an additional fee, just as there would be for an off-site gym membership, if they offer a fully-equipped gym. Options such as yoga, stretching, Pilates, aerobics, boxing classes or personal trainers are usually an additional cost.
  • Programming. Most communities have educational, cultural, spiritual, entertainment or social programming that residents can attend. A monthly or weekly calendar of events keeps everyone up-to-date. The cost for most of these offerings is included in the monthly rent.
  • Transportation. Communities often have buses or vans available to take residents to off-site events like a museum visit or theater performance. These are usually pre-scheduled, group outings. Some communities have à la carte transportation options available for their residents on a per-trip basis.
  • Medical services. Communities that offer “aging in place” or a “continuum of care” will provide basic on-site health care services for an additional fee. A common service is medication management. Usually, there are nurses and caregivers available for a consultation to discuss care offerings and services. Some communities have a partnership with a physician’s group for access to medical doctors, if needed.
  • On-site services. Some communities offer access to a salon, bistro or coffee shop, physical therapy, day spa and massage services, movie theater, convenience store, and more. These are usually self-pay, just as they would be outside the community. It’s a good idea to make a list of additional amenities that are important to you. They could end up being the deciding factor in your community of choice.
What Questions Should You Ask When Touring  Independent Living Communities?

Betty, resident at Terracina Grand in Naples, FL, shares a typical day for her. Take a look!

 
 
 
Video Thumbnail
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1:30
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Read the full article about Betty's typical day.

Costs

The cost for independent senior living “with services” varies greatly by location, size of apartment, and whether the community offers a buy-in, entrance deposit, or rental option. Any additional services you opt for will also be a determining factor.

Before signing a lease, ask about additional community fees and security deposits as well as extra charges for second persons (a spouse or partner living in the apartment home), parking, storage or pets.

Most independent senior living communities operate on a month-to-month lease with a 30-day notice. Buy-in communities require a large investment that may range from $20,000 to over $1,000,000, but they allow the resident to move within the community to assisted living, memory care, or receive health care services in a skilled care setting (more on this later), as their needs change. Upon move-out, the resident or their designee, generally receives a percentage of the original amount back. Be sure to assess your financial needs before you sign any paperwork.

Additional Resources



Assisted Living

TGG_Blog_PillarPageHeaders_628x250_3

Assisted living differs from independent senior living by offering a base of services in the monthly rent. Typically, assisted living residents TGG_Icon_BlogPillarPage_IL_AL_MC_Respitewant or require regular assistance with daily activities.

“It’s peace of mind for myself, my daughter, and the family, knowing that mom is being taken care of and that she is having fun.”

-Clare, daughter of a resident at Terracina Grand

Every state has its own regulations and licensing requirements for assisted living. Here's a good resource to find the laws that apply to your state.

What Services to Look For

The services available in assisted living include and exceed the base independent senior living offerings and are geared toward helping residents with activities of daily living. Services are tailored to the individual and are based on a one-on-one assessment, usually with a licensed nurse from the community. These services may vary from minor or infrequent help to daily assistance with fundamental needs and are part of a personal “plan of care.”

  • Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). A primary feature of assisted living communities is that they provide residents regular help with ADLs. These ADLs can include help with medication management, dressing, bathing, grooming, escorts and toileting assistance. Look for a full range of services, both for what you or your loved one needs now and what may be needed in the future.
  • Medical monitoring. Most communities offer basic medical monitoring and have licensed nurses on staff. Ask what medical services are available, as there may be some restrictions by state law.
  • Meals. Most assisted living communities offer full meal plans as well as in-home delivery options for an extra charge. Many apartments in these communities have limited kitchen facilities, so residents often have two or three meals a day in the communal dining area.
  • Medication management. An important service in assisted living is managing and administering medication. This can range from helping a resident sort and set-up their weekly medications, to reminding or administering medications throughout the day. Be sure to ask what the range of services are at the communities you’re considering.
  • Safety checks. Another common feature of assisted living is daily safety checks in which a team member will visit at least once a day to make sure everything is alright.  
  • Escort services. Escorts with a team member may be available within the community for assistance in getting to meals, programs or activities.
  • Emergency call system. Residents should always have the ability to notify staff if they need help. There are a range of options available from a regular phone to an alert system the resident wears, to a proprietary, in-house call system.
  • Programming. Most states require assisted living communities to offer educational, cultural, spiritual or entertainment programming. A monthly or weekly calendar of events keeps everyone up-to-date. The cost for most offerings is usually included in the monthly rent.

What Questions Should You Ask When Touring  Assisted Living Communities?

A Word about Group Homes

In most areas, you will find small assisted living residential care homes that operate as a “group home.” These small settings offer personalized care for four to 12 individuals in a house setting. Group homes are ideal for those who don’t like larger settings of traditional senior living communities or campuses. However, they typically do not offer as wide of an array of life enrichment activities.

Costs

Costs for assisted living, like those for independent senior living, can vary significantly. Key factors, again, include location, apartment size and whether it’s private or shared, and the level of health care services the resident needs. The national average for monthly assisted living fees, according to the 2019 Genworth survey, is $4,051. Expect to pay up to $8,000 or more per month for high-end assisted living communities in larger markets.

For month-to-month rental communities, ask about the initial fees or deposits and if there is a charge for the pre-move-in nursing assessment. There may also be additional charges for second persons, garage or covered parking, pets, or storage. In most communities, a doctor’s orders are required to receive assisted living services.

There are more choices for covering the monthly rent or services in assisted living than in independent senior living. In addition to private pay, many residents have long-term care insurance policies that may also cover assisted living services, and the Veterans Benefits Administration has a program for certain eligible veterans and survivors called Aid & Attendance, that provides an additional monetary pension benefit for qualified individuals. Ask the executive director about these payment options when conducting your search.

Additional Assisted Living Resources



Memory Care

TGG_Blog_PillarPageHeaders_628x250_4

Memory care is a specialized form of assisted living for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia and memory loss. Memory care neighborhoods are usually secure to ensure the safety of TGG_Icon_BlogPillarPage_IL_AL_MC_Respiteresidents who may wander or seek exits. These neighborhoods can exist within a larger senior living community, a stand-alone building or a group home.

Someone may transition from assisted living, or even independent living, into memory care. It is common for residents to enter memory care directly after in-home caregiving becomes too difficult or costly. Often, a medical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia is required to be admitted into a memory care neighborhood. Admission to memory care occurs after a journey of diminishing memory over time at home or in an independent or assisted living setting.

“When you are taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s, at some point in time, you know little things are going to start getting worse. For me, one of those was the first time she wandered. But when you do move your loved one into a memory care community, as much as you miss them, it’s a huge relief.”

-Garry, husband of a resident at Villa at Terracina Grand

Before choosing a memory care option, it’s a good idea to know what services to look for and what questions to ask so that you can make the best decision for your loved one’s care.

What Memory Care Services to Look For

Wendy, daughter of a resident at Terracina Grand in Naples, FL, shares her insight on what to look for in a memory care community.

 
 
 
Video Thumbnail
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1:28
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Read the full article where Wendy shares what to look for in a senior living community.

The services available in memory care can vary significantly, but there are some basics that every location should offer.

  • A secured area. One of the greatest dangers for memory care residents is a tendency to wander or seek an exit. While it may seem unusual to a new visitor, memory care neighborhoods are secured for the protection and safety of residents. Many leading memory care communities are designed and constructed to let residents fulfill their natural tendency to explore while prioritizing safety above all else.
  • Smaller apartments. Most memory care apartments are studios or have limited square footage. The life enrichment programming within memory care neighborhoods occurs in the larger common areas and residents are encouraged to leave their apartments and participate in the activities with staff and other residents.
  • Specially trained nursing and support staff. Working with memory care residents requires specialized knowledge and ongoing training beyond that of ordinary assisted living. Often, caregivers in memory care are specially trained to communicate with residents effectively and may be licensed to prescribe and dispense medications.
  • Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). As memory loss progresses, a resident will need help with ADLs. These include things like medication management, dressing, bathing, grooming, escorts and toileting assistance. If there is additional assistance needed, a range of services may be available. Many communities include basic ADLs in the base monthly rent or offer care packages with a mix of services at different and progressive levels.
  • Programming. There are a wide range of options available at different communities including music and art therapy, animal therapy, fitness classes, aromatherapy, sing-alongs, board and card games, baking, movies, and field trips. A more recent positive approach to providing care for adults living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is Montessori Inspired Lifestyle®.
  • Comforting, pleasing environment. It’s important that memory care residents feel comfortable in their environment. Having a relaxed, attractively decorated and soothing environment is an important factor to find in memory care neighborhoods. Some communities may even have separate areas or rooms set aside that have soothing music, scents, waterfalls, aquariums or aviaries that residents find relaxing and peaceful.
  • Coordinated care team. Extended staff, such as nurses, aides, social workers, care coordinators, and spiritual care directors, are able to work with family members to determine, design, and implement individualized care for each resident.
  • Caregiver support groups. Most communities host monthly gatherings for family members to come together, share their experiences and find support. Many are going through the same emotions of being a loved one or family member of a person living with dementia, and caregiver support groups offer a holistic family approach.

What Questions Should You Ask When Touring  Memory Care Communities?

Finding an Advocate

Researching, visiting, and deciding on memory care for a loved one can be a time consuming and emotional process. However, there are advocacy services that can help support and advise you along the way. These services work with communities in your area and, based on your specific needs, can advise you on which to look at first. Some can provide you with a one-on-one specialist who will accompany you on tours, introduce you to staff, and answer follow-up questions. A good way to find them is to search online for “memory care advisor” or “memory care specialist” and your zip code. One of the most respected service organizations to help those dealing with dementia is the Alzheimer’s Association, which has chapters in every state and metro area. Also, feel free to contact us at The Goodman Group and we would be honored to help you navigate through this important process.

You may also find helpful advice from:

  • Friends or relatives, especially those who’ve been through a similar process
  • Your loved one’s primary care physician or medical staff
  • Social workers at hospitals or senior living communities
  • Clergy or lay counselors at your place of worship

Someone like Garry, who reflected on his wife’s quality of life after transitioning to a memory care community, can offer personal and valuable advice.

 
 
 
Video Thumbnail
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1:52
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Read the full article where Garry describes his wife's quality of life in memory care. 

Costs

Due to specialized training of team members, higher staff to resident ratio, and specific needs of residents, memory care is more expensive than assisted living. Average monthly fees range from $5,000 to $8,000, depending on the location, number of staff, services and amenities offered, private vs. semi-private rooms, and number of hours included in each level of care. Aside from private pay, costs may be covered by long-term care (LTC) insurance policies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Aid and Attendance program, or certain county programs based on Medicaid programs specific to your state or county.

Additional Resources



Skilled Nursing

TGG_Blog_PillarPageHeaders_628x250_5

Skilled nursing communities provide short- and long-term medical and rehabilitative care, and 24-hour on-site staffing is available for monitoring patients and residents. TGG_Icon_BlogPillarPage_SkilledNursingShort-term care is appropriate for those who have been discharged from a hospital, and whom are recovering from injury, illness, or surgery. Many times short-term care is called transitional care, as most patients are transitioning back home after receiving rehabilitation therapies. Long-term care is residential in nature, and offers on-going care services for residents living in a skilled nursing community.

What to Look For

Unlike independent or assisted living, you may not always have time to research and plan for skilled nursing care, as injury, accident or illness may proceed admission. It is common for families to rely on the recommendations of social workers, hospital staff, or other medical professionals when deciding on a skilled nursing location. There’s also help from Medicare and Medicaid.

The Five-Star Quality Rating System

To help families make an informed decision when choosing skilled nursing care, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) developed a rating system for skilled nursing facilities. Its Five-Star Quality Rating System is based on three criteria:

  • Health Inspections. Trained inspectors review providers based on standards established by Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Staffing. The ratio of nursing staff to residents, which determines the average amount of individualized attention each resident receives daily. This part of the rating is adjusted based on the level of care residents require. A location with residents that need a higher level of care would be expected to have a higher staff-to-resident ratio than a location where most of the residents require less care.
  • Quality Measures. This part of the rating is based on 16 different physical and clinical measures for nursing home residents.

The system awards locations a 1- to 5-star rating based on how they measure up to the above criteria. According to CMS, “Nursing homes with 5 stars are considered to have much above average quality, and nursing homes with 1 star are considered to have quality much below average.”  

Costs

Short-term care costs at a skilled nursing community are dependent on the duration of a patient’s stay as well as the level of care required. Like independent and assisted living, costs will also vary based on location and whether a room is private or semi-private.

All stays, whether short- or long-term, are based on a daily rate. Payment for short-term care can be made through a number of options including Medicare, private pay, or payment through an insurance or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan.  Long-term care payment can be private pay, through a long-term care insurance policy, or through local Medicaid programs that are administered by the state and county, and managed by county case managers. Also, the Veterans Benefits Administration offers contracts to select skilled nursing facilities to cover cares and therapies for veterans. Be sure to ask about this, if appropriate. National averages, according to the Genworth 2019 survey, start at $242 per day for a shared room and $275 per day for a private room.

 



Home Care

TGG_Blog_PillarPageHeaders_628x250_6


Many seniors opt to stay in their own homes rather than move to a senior living community. However, they may still need or want assistance. A variety of organizations can assist seniors in their own homes. TGG_Icon_BlogPillarPage_HomeCareHome health care agencies can provide a variety of health care services, and non-medical companion services can help people with cooking, cleaning, and other home-making services.

What Services to Look For

For home care, it’s best to start by making a list of the services that are most important to you or your loved one. Break the list down into categories, arranged by priority:

  • Medical needs. Do you or your loved one need help organizing or taking medication? Do you need regular help monitoring a medical condition like high blood pressure or diabetes? Is there a need for short- or longer-term wound care?
  • ADLs. What activities of daily living (ADLs) might you or your loved one need help with? These can include medication management, dressing, bathing, grooming, escorts and toileting assistance, which may be needed daily.
  • Non-medical services. Don’t forget less frequent non-medical needs like cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, pet care, or transportation to medical appointments.
  • Home maintenance. Do you need help with snow removal, mowing, gardening or other regular home maintenance tasks?
  • Companion services. While many seniors love being in their own home, sometimes that can lead to isolation. Consider if you or your loved one would like to have someone drop in periodically just for a chat, afternoon tea or a game of cards. Some services even offer 24-hour staffing for this, or live-in care providers.

Home Care Costs

Home care for medical services is usually ordered through a physician, and if the services are an extension of recovery after a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay, costs may be covered by Medicare or Medicaid. According to Genworth’s 2019 national survey, visits by licensed staff can average approximately $87.50 per visit. Also, find out if you need to pay for travel time.

Additional Resources



Adult Day Services

TGG_Blog_PillarPageHeaders_628x250_7

While many seniors are able to and want to live in their own homes or with relatives, it can sometimes be isolating, especially if you’re living alone or family members work during the day. TGG_Icon_BlogPillarPage_AdultDayServicesAdult day services are designed to help fight solitude and loneliness. They also give in-home caregivers a short break. Most locations offer half-day and full-day options, and most are flexible with how often a senior comes.

What to Look For

Adult day services are often located in community centers, churches or synagogues, or within senior living communities. These locations provide social engagement in addition to meals, activities and health care services. Each location will be a little different but most will have the following services:

  • Programming. One of the top benefits of adult day services is the social engagement that seniors can share. Most locations offer card and board games, art therapy, exercise classes, and sometimes even field trips.
  • Nutritious meals. Depending on how long you’re staying, most locations offer breakfast and lunch, as well as healthy snacks. Most also welcome seniors bringing their own snacks or favorite beverages.
  • Personal care. Adult day services usually can help with personal hygiene, bathing and grooming. They can also help with the use of walkers, wheelchairs, or other assistive devices.
  • Nursing care and monitoring. This will vary by location, but often nursing staff is available and can offer assistance with taking medications. If you have specific needs, it’s a good idea to ask about those upfront.

Costs

Usually adult day services charge by the full- or half-day. There may be a la carte charges for some services such as transportation or special diet meals. According to Genworth, the national average adult day services cost in 2019 was $1,625 per month.  Again, payment options vary by location. Private pay is always an option but local Medicaid programs, or programs through the Veterans Benefits Administration, may cover a part or all of the incremental costs.



Respite Care

TGG_Blog_PillarPageHeaders_628x250_8

Respite care is short-term or temporary care and housing for a loved one, usually when their caregiver needs a rest or plans to be absent due to vacation or travel. TGG_Icon_BlogPillarPage_IL_AL_MC_RespiteRespite is also appropriate for those who need additional short-term help after a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay. And, as a trial stay, respite is also a great opportunity for a senior to “try out” a senior living community.

Respite Care in A SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY

The most common form of respite care is when an older adult moves into a senior living community for a limited period of time: from a few days to a week, a month, or sometimes longer. In those cases, the services available will be everything that assisted living offers, including:

  • A furnished apartment including linens, towels, and kitchen items
  • Nutritious meals each day
  • Medication management
  • Social activities and outings
  • Help with activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Laundry and housekeeping

You’ll want to assess the different options available in your area. Using our article on Assisted Living (above) can help get you started.

Costs

Respite care services in senior living communities can range from $125 to $300 per day. Costs vary by location and the types of services needed. Sometimes care services are included in the daily rate, but often this is a separate fee based on an assessment made by licensed nursing staff.



Senior Condos and Co-ops

TGG_Blog_PillarPageHeaders_628x250_1

TGG_Icon_BlogPillarPage_SeniorCondoCo-opSome seniors, who are really independent, want to live in a congregate setting with others, but don’t want to pay rent or a monthly fee. Rather, they want to build equity and have ownership and more control over their apartment or townhouse. Thus, an age-restricted condominium or cooperative community might be a sensible choice.

These senior communities operate on the same concept as non-age restricted condos and co-ops, and also function under the direction of a Home Owner Association (HOA), who in turn usually hires a manager to operate the community’s day-to-day business.

What to Look For

Senior condo or co-op living is not recommended for those who don’t want to be responsible for operating a building or planning repair and renovation budgets. Also, those seniors who want flexibility (ability to move with a 30-day notice) may want to explore other rental options. Sometimes reselling a condo or co-op can take time (as the HOA board has to approve the buyer prior to move-in), so the owner is responsible to continue to pay the mortgage or the monthly HOA fee even after move-out.

Costs for Condos and Co-ops

New Call-to-actionMonthly fees can range from $250 to $1,000 per month depending on the location and unit size. Unit prices are based on local real estate prices for the market.

Be sure to get pricing, floor plans and a list of health care services prior to securing your condo or co-op. Find out about community fees, deposits, other charges and payment or reimbursement options. Ask about annual increases, as well.



The Importance of Touring

When considering a new setting – senior apartment, assisted living, skilled nursing community, adult day services or respite care – the best and only way to determine a perfect fit with you or your loved one, is to request a tour. Tours allow you to meet the staff, see the building, observe the residents and programs, try the food, and get an overall feel for the community.

When on a tour, keep an eye out for these details:

  • Location and curb appeal. Is there parking for visitors? Are the grounds and entrance clean and maintained?
  • Staff and residents. How are you greeted? Are you asked what you want to see prior to touring? Are the staff friendly? Do residents seem happy?
  • Bricks and mortar. Is the location clean? How does it smell? Are furnishings and carpet/flooring maintained? Is the atmosphere pleasant? Has it been recently updated?
  • Apartments or rooms. Is it private or shared? What is the square footage? Does the bathroom have a shower or tub? Is there a kitchen area? Washer/dryer? Closets or storage?
  • Dining. Is the dining area clean? Is it open or assigned seating? Anytime dining or scheduled times for each meal? Review the menu options. Ask residents if they like the food.



Connect With Us

Now that you have a better feel for the senior living options available, we invite you to reach out to our team with any questions. Whether you're just starting to consider senior living or ready to make a move, we look forward to walking through this important process with you or your loved one.

Stay in the Loop

on the latest stories and information by subscribing to our resource blog

New Call-to-action