If you are a senior citizen, or you have an elderly loved one to look after, you may want to know what types of senior apartments are available. There are independent living options for people who are still fit, active and mentally alert. There are assisted living apartments for people whose health is slightly declining. There are also continuing care retirement communities that have a wide variety of services and facilities.
Senior living apartments should not be confused with nursing homes as they are vastly different.
Many seniors who are still active are looking to downsize their living arrangements, while also looking toward the future when they may not be as active or mobile. Many senior living situations are geared with this in mind and have phased communities for this gentle progression. Maybe you are looking for an apartment for you and your spouse, or perhaps you are looking to find a good situation for your parents. In either case, educating yourself about what to expect from a senior living situation is critical to making the right choice.
If you are a senior citizen in good health who wants to live independently, you can live in various types of apartments. First, there are standard apartments for people of all ages in complexes, duplexes and quadruplexes that may be suitable for you. In this case, living on the ground floor will probably be preferable to living on the top level of an apartment building, especially if the building does not have an elevator.
There are also apartments specially designed for older people. These accommodations are usually for adults older than 55 or 62 years of age. Senior apartments specifically serve the older community with special features and services, which include amenities, activities and fitness classes. Some senior apartments also provide housekeeping services and meals for additional costs. Generally, personal care and medical care is not included in these types of senior apartments.
You will also find senior apartments in full-service communities that offer residents an independent living lifestyle. These communities, which are tailored to the older clientele, often provide meals, housekeeping, recreational activities, transportation, a laundry service and all-inclusive rent. Often, in larger senior communities, this is the first phase of the complex with assisted living and residential homes available for declining health and years.
What is assisted living? Elderly people residing in assisted living apartments are helped with basic activities, while still keeping as much of an independent lifestyle as they wish. Basic assistance can include help with things like bathing, dressing and grooming. In some states, assisted living can include assistance in giving medication. Assisted living communities offer a homey atmosphere. Housing may be studio apartments or one-bedroom apartments and are typically fitted with kitchenettes that feature a microwave and a small refrigerator. If you are on a tight budget or you like to have company, many apartments offer shared apartments.
These communities are best for seniors who have had a decline in health but are still active and do not require round-the-clock care. Living in an assisted living environment means you are free of too many responsibilities and you have the care available when you need it. Services often included in assisted living communities are:
- 24-hour staff.
- Laundry service.
- Recreational activities.
What happens when a resident’s health begins to decline and the level of care needs to increase? Many assisted living communities are able to let residents stay, and they will provide the care required. The extra level of care comes with an additional fee on top of the monthly rent though. The cost of the care will differ depending on the level of care required.
Of utmost concern is how much something like this would cost. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living facilities have no regulatory standard. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, which has been monitoring and reporting costs for such facilities since 2004, the median price for living in assisted living facilities is $3,750.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Continuing care retirement communities, also known as life plan communities, offer care for seniors across different housing types, including apartments. Continuing care retirement communities allow elderly people to live comfortably in the same place for the rest of their years. These communities offer independent living, assisted living and nursing care all on one site. If acute care is needed, residents will be transferred to nearby hospitals. Most places have common areas such as a gym, a dining area, a swimming pool, an activity center and outdoor recreation facilities.
Living in a continuing care retirement community can be an expensive investment. If you are on a low or middle income, you will not be able to afford these retirement apartments. To live in a continuing care retirement community, you will have to pay a large entrance fee. You must also pay a monthly maintenance fee and health costs. Depending on the monthly maintenance contract you have, these services could be offered by continuing care retirement communities:
- Laundry service.
- Recreational activities.
- Garbage and snow removal.
- Lawn care.
- Health monitoring services.
If you are elderly and your health is deteriorating to the point where you need to be cared for 24-hours a day, living in a nursing home will be your best option. Nursing homes are for seniors who do not need to be in a hospital but are unable to be looked after at home. Nursing homes may offer a variety of accommodation types, including apartments.
The staff at a nursing home do not just provide medical care. They can also provide speech therapy, occupational therapy and other types of care. Nursing homes tend to operate like hospitals. They are run efficiently so the residents can be given the best care. Although the operation of a nursing home is treated like a hospital, they are usually homey with a neighborhood feel.
You may have an elderly family member whose health is deteriorating, in which case, you might be considering placing them in a nursing home. If your loved one has regular problems like incontinence, dangerously wandering off by themselves or dementia that is harmful or hard to manage, it is time to consider a nursing home placement. When considering this, be sure to include your loved one in the decision-making process. The more mentally alert the senior person is, the more they will want to be involved with the decision from beginning to end. If your loved one does move to a nursing home apartment, make the adjustment period as smooth as possible.