When you’re comfortably into your retirement and ready to give up the responsibilities of owning a home, you probably don’t want to move into a regular apartment complex. There may be too much noise or too few activities that match your interests, which is why many adults consider senior apartments or other senior housing plans.
However, there’s a wide range of plans you can choose from even in this specialty housing category, which can make choosing the right option for you difficult. Understanding your options is vital to making the right decision for your circumstances. In this article, we’ll describe the major types of housing options you have and provide tips on choosing the right option for your lifestyle.
There are different categories of living that older adults can choose from based on their preferences and lifestyle. The two main types are independent living and living with assistance.
Independent living is designed for those who are entirely independent and able to live without assistance, but want to downsize or live among their peers in a community that offers more amenities and less of the responsibilities of homeownership.
In an independent living situation, you might choose an active adult community. These are often age-restricted, such as 55+ apartments. The communities typically offer a range of amenities, such as including lawn care in the cost of rent, providing an activity calendar for residents and providing plenty of perks, including swimming pools, on-site salons and libraries.
Luxury services such as housekeeping, laundry and transportation are also common, making independent living an excellent fit for adults that prefer to live active lives in a more community-like atmosphere but appreciate having more amenities on hand.
Living with assistance means you live in a community that has team members on hand to help you with various tasks. There are four types of options under living with assistance:
Assisted Living: The most independent option that would work for a person who only needs some support is assisted living, which provides help with the activities of daily living (ADL). In assisted living, you receive help with things like bathing, taking medicine, getting dressed or cooking, as needed.
Nursing Homes: Nursing homes are the next level within this category. An adult might choose a nursing home if they regularly require medical assistance. Nursing homes provide medical care and cover all your basic needs, such as transportation, meals, laundry and more.
Memory Care: The last option under living with assistance is memory care. People living with dementia likely need memory care, which provides specialized care for those dealing with impairments like Alzheimer’s disease.
Continuing Care: In a continuing-care retirement community (CCRC), independent living, assisted living, nursing home care and memory care are all available. If you don’t know what type of care you’ll need over time, this living arrangement is ideal as it allows you to transition to have additional support over time.
Most adults don’t need assistance, especially higher levels of assistance like memory care, when they first retire. Instead, they’re looking for ways to reduce their responsibilities to free up more time and money to enjoy their retirement. That may include offloading chores like housekeeping or property maintenance. In these cases, independent living communities can help because they provide the most freedom with the best amenities available. If you know you need assistance now or will need assistance later, you may want to consider other options.
If you’re interested in independent living, you’ll need to look for communities in your area. As you search, you may have additional questions about your new housing options, including:
Independent living contracts are similar to standard apartment rental contracts, with the majority of their costs going to monthly rent. However, independent living communities may also charge an entrance fee to secure your place in the community. Their monthly fees also provide a higher quality of life than other apartments, including luxury accommodations and far more amenities and services than other types of apartments.
Independent living costs far less than other senior housing plans. For example, the average cost of assisted living in America is $4,000 a month, while independent living can cost as little as $2,000 per month.
It’s important to keep quality in mind when choosing an independent living community, however. $2,000 typically won’t provide retirees with all the amenities they’re looking for. Instead, look for independent living pricing closer to $3,000 per month, which will be more inclusive. At this price point, you’ll likely get 24-hour security, housekeeping, utilities, rent and maintenance without any extra costs.
Floor plans vary depending on the community you choose, but it is not uncommon for independent living floor plans to include a variety of options. For instance, most one-bedroom floor plans will be approximately 650-1,000 square feet. Most will include a full bedroom, living room and accessible bathroom. Two-bedroom floor plans are usually over 1,000 square feet.
In some places, floor plans will also include a patio or balcony so you can spend time outside. Some will have their entrance doors to your apartment inside the building itself.
Most independent living communities provide a range of amenities and services so they know residents will have something they enjoy close by. The amenities and services you’ll find will often include resort-style dining, outdoor common areas and gardens, the ability to bring pets, fitness centers, pools, spas and salons, entertainment options, craft and game rooms and more.
Senior housing has sometimes fallen prey to a bad reputation over the years, but today’s senior housing plans are far more diverse than they were in the past. Instead of revolving around support for those that need it, there are now options that include different levels of support, including independent living that makes life easier and more enjoyable for retirees who want to be more active, not less.
If you’re curious about what independent living could provide for you or your partner, contact Aspire at Carriage Hill. Our Richmond, Virginia, retirement community is designed specifically for adults who are looking for an easier, more enjoyable lifestyle where they can do more every day. We’ll be happy to give you a tour or answer your questions via phone or email.