Senior Living: From 55 Apartments to Retirement Housing

Which senior living scenario is right for your family’s needs?

senior woman smiling on couch© Comstock/ThinkstockThere’s probably no better time to be a senior than now, thanks to a growing array of senior housing options, innovative senior communities, and specialized care. Here’s a snapshot of five senior housing choices to help you decide what’s right for you or your aging loved one…

1. When just a little help is needed: Assisted Living

Seniors who can remain independent but need some help with basic activities (like taking care of the home, laundry, meal preparation, and some simple health maintenance) find assisted living to be a great fit. Residents often describe a community atmosphere as opposed to an “institutional” feel. Monthly costs may range from $1,800 to $3,000 and are typically private pay, meaning Medicare is not accepted.

2. They’re on their own, but ready to relax: Independent Living

Active seniors who want to live out their golden years without the stress or strain of managing their home find independent living communities to be like one long vacation. Also called retirement communities, these residences are private, but the option to take part in group activities – and, yes, parties! – is always there. Costs of independent communities can range from $1,300 to $2,500 per month.

3. When health and safety are top priority: Alzheimer’s Care

As the name implies, Alzheimer’s care facilities are specifically geared toward seniors who need  professional care and personal attention in a secured setting due to a memory impairment or related illness. These communities provide a safe and supervised environment, which really equates to peace of mind for the whole family. Monthly fees vary from about $1,500 to $5,000.

4. Thinking ahead and preparing for change: Continuing Care

Like to have a game plan for the future? If you’re the planning type, you’ll appreciate how continuing care facilities can adapt as your loved one ages; no need to worry about moving him or her every few years if health conditions change. Continuing care communities offer everything from basic assistance with daily living to specialized nursing care. Expect to pay about $400 to $2,500 per month, plus entrance fees.

5. It’s their time… finally!: Retirement Living

Also called 55 and up housing, retirement living communities are for active seniors that do not require on-site medical care. Instead, they are looking for friendship, recreation, and healthy living activities. In short, these residents are looking to live it up, and make their golden years shine.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest