What exactly are senior apartments, and is one in your future? Independent seniors who want to downsize and move into senior communities have many options available to them.
Reasons for moving into these communities vary. You might want to downsize, or maybe you want to live with people your own age. Maybe you’ve always considered kitchens to be an optional part of the floor plan and want to be served your meals. Or you might not want to risk being alone in the event of an emergency. Let’s look at the options and see what each type of residence offers.
Relocating for the Wrong Reasons
Before you make up your mind to move, ask yourself if fear is motivating your move. Do you fear, for example, that you might fall when you’re alone with no one nearby to help you or call for help? A medical alert device may allow you to remain in your home while allaying your fears. Even if you do change your address to one of the senior apartments below, a medical alert device can offer extra security and the comfort of knowing that access to help is a button push away.
“Independent living” means whatever a property’s marketing department wants it to mean, but in general, it will commonly include the three types of accommodations listed below:
- Senior Communities: Florida and Arizona have many senior communities featuring resort-style living, and now you’ll find these types of communities far beyond snowbird country. They can offer any combination of homes, condos, or apartments, with the most desirable locations situated on the golf course or near one of the pools. They feature a full complement of amenities and opportunities for social butterflies.
- Independent Living Facilities: What most people think of as independent living is actually closer to assisted living without the “assist.” You’ll often find suite-style dwellings (small senior apartments) and in-house dining in a restaurant-like atmosphere. Most facilities include amenities such as a gym, activities, outings, and transportation for residents. Some independent living facilities are continuing care retirement communities, which may require an ownership buy-in (with typically up to 80 percent of the purchase price reverting to the owners’ heirs). The buy-in might include a graduated plan, which allows you to “graduate” to assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing if necessary, so you can remain among friends even when you need a higher level of assistance.
- Senior Apartments: Some apartment buildings reserve their rental units for people over a certain age, with some senior apartments allowing residents as young as 50 or 55. These apartments offer little other than location (location, location) as a benefit to seniors. They’re conveniently located within several blocks of grocery and drug stores. Many began life as affinity retirement apartments, open only to those with similar backgrounds or interests, but have since become open to all seniors. If the name of the building seems to exclude you, call and ask, because it might simply be a legacy name.
Before you give up your current residence, give it careful consideration. If you decide that one of the senior apartments listed above sounds like it fits your needs, Caregiver.com has some helpful tips for selecting the right community for you. Make sure you visit several properties, and take a friend or family member with you to offer a second opinion.