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A Guide to Senior Housing

by Jessica Levco

When looking at housing options for senior citizens, it's a chooser's market. With a wide variety of senior housing lifestyles, there are plenty of options for you or your loved one. But, unlike buying a house, picking a place to spend your Golden years doesn't always come with a real estate agent. Here's a quick look at the different types of housing for seniors:

Assisted Living

WHO LIVES HERE: Seniors who can remain independent, but need some help with basic activities. Assisted Living facilities are geared for people who can't live on their own safely, but don't need a large amount of care. People with Alzheimer's or mobililty limitations can also live at an assisted living facility.

WHAT IT IS: Assisted living communities include necessary amenities, such as laundry and transportation services. Meals are prepared and most facilities provide medicinal assistance, emergency call service and licensed nursing.

ATMOSPHERE: Assisted living facilities have a comfortable vibe -- they are not an institutional setting. Most assisted living communities plan activities for seniors, such as exercising and shopping trips. Assisted living homes can be in high-rise apartment complexes and converted homes.

HOW MUCH PER MONTH: $1,800-3,000

Independent Living

WHO LIVES HERE: Independent Living might be the best option for seniors who don't want to live alone in a big, empty houses. At Independent Living facilities, seniors don't have to worry about meals, laundry, or household chores. However, if medical care is required, they'll have to look outside of the facility.

WHAT IT IS: Independent living facilities are also known as senior apartments, retirement communities, or retirement homes. Independent Living is all about one word: Freedom.

ATMOSPHERE: Some compare it to college all over again, but instead of beer, it's root beer-float socials. Independent Living is for people who want to maintain a private lifestyle, but participate in group activities. Independent Living facilities can be found in single family homes and duplexes.

HOW MUCH PER MONTH: $1,300-2,500

Alzheimer's Care


WHO LIVES HERE: This is geared for men and women who are suffering from Alzheimer's and need more than Home Care assistance.
WHAT IT IS: Alzheimer's Care facilities are centered on safety, routine and personal attention. Trained specialists will make sure your loved one gets help with daily activities, such as eating and bathing.

ATMOSPHERE: When dealing with a deteriorating illness, Alzheimer's Care facilities helps patients live a functional life. Caregivers know their patients as individuals and can provide the best care for them, especially when the disease is too taxing for family and friends to deal with.

HOW MUCH PER MONTH: $1,500-$5,000

Continuing Care

WHO LIVES HERE: Active seniors who plan ahead and want to stay near their families.

WHAT IT IS: Residents can move from various housing choices, as their needs health change. Some of these choices could include rehabilitation services, assisted living, or nursing care. This eliminates the need to move to a different community at a later age.

ATMOSPHERE: Comparable to hotel life, for the highest earning 10 percent of the population. Most Continuing Care retirement communities are equipped with fitness centers, auditoriums and nearby restaurants. Continuing Care Retirement Communities can come in the form of apartments, cluster homes, or cottages.

HOW MUCH PER MONTH: $400-2,500+entrance fees

Retirement Living

WHO LIVES HERE: Baby boomers who want to participate in a spectrum of intellectual, social and physical activities. Most Retirement Living communities are restricted to seniors older than 55.

WHAT IT IS: This is for senior citizens who have minimal health concerns and want to enjoy their retirement with others. No comprehensive health care is provided and adults can live in their own homes and participate in residential activities. Life is centered on maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and staying mentally fit.

ATMOSPHERE: Similar to summer camp. There's lots of recreation and social activities, with the opportunity for personal growth and meeting new friends. Most retirement community centers are concentrated near neighborhoods or college campuses.

HOW MUCH PER MONTH: Comparable to local real estate.

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If you need more information about "A Guide to Senior Housing" please call 877-964-1168 to speak to a senior care professional. Facebook | del.icio.us | Digg


One nice thing some large independent living communities offer is the ability to travel and stay for free, or very inexpensively, at their connected communities in other locations. For example, Holiday Retirement offers 240+ participating communities in the United States and Canada. :)
by Kaye Swain submitted on Jan 12, 2010

My husband and I placed his mom (age 90) in a local assisted living facility in 1990. We should have forced her to socialize more with the group. Please note that the facility hires the bottom of the food chain for employees. Notice if any of the housekeepers and dietary have been there longer than 6 months. Change has been hard for Mom to take as she ages. The facility she is in has been sold 3 times since she moved in. The problem I have is you never know who is in charge and the services and have declined terribly. This year's annual rate increase was shocking. It includes $195.73 a day for the room, $13 per day to deliver medication, $2 for emergency fall button, making the 2010 grand total $76,936.45. My husband died last year and I am moving back into Houston from the suburbs. Does anyone have an idea for a facility that is stable and competent that isn't going to put me in the poor house?
by Zoe Ann Ludlum submitted on Jan 22, 2010

Zoe, I'm so sorry to hear that. You may wish to start your research for a better place for your mother-in-law at our Senior Living in Houston page. All the best to you!
by Gina LaGuardia submitted on Jan 25, 2010



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