Housing Options for Seniors
Traditional housing was often makes it difficult for elders to age in place. As we age, adaptations to homes can make them more supportive. Or, alternative housing options in the community can be combined with supportive services that allow elders to maintain their quality of life.
Housing alternatives include:
- Independent living includes single houses, town homes, apartments, and condominiums. Independent housing can become more accessible and safe with design adaptations. (See Designing Accessible Housing.)
- Semi-independent living includes independent options adapted for home sharing, such as accessory apartments. Residents may also have access to supportive services such as meals, housekeeping, transportation and social activities.
- Congregate housing often with supportive services available in multi-unit home settings or group home.
- Assisted living is an alternative to long-term care. It is residential in character and appearance with access to professionally-managed personal and health care services. Staff in assisted living have the capacity to meet unscheduled needs for assistance if needed, but encourage independence when elders do not need support.
- Continuing care retirement communities (also known as life-care) provide a range of accommodations and services, from independent rental units to 24-hour skilled nursing care. Residents move along the continuum, as needs change. In life-care communities, residents typically pay significant entrance fees. They include a legal agreement or life-care contract that guarantees nursing and health-related services for the duration of the resident's life.
- Nursing homes provide care on a continuum, with costs supplemented by Medicaid or Medicare. They are regulated by local and federal government agencies.
- Memory care facilities designed as safe, small residential settings to help individuals and families cope with dementia.
For more information about senior housing, call the Senior Linkage Line at 1-800-333-2433.
Design, Housing & Apparel — University of Minnesota. (n.d.). Housing as we age: A consumer's guide to home adaptation. Design, Housing & Apparel — University of Minnesota.
Other Recommended Resources
Designing Accessible Housing — Simple design elements can help homes accommodate individuals with diverse abilities.
Universal Design — Institute for Human Centered Design — Reviews the history principles, resources, and more for Universal Design.
Senior LinkAge Line — Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging — Free information and service assistance for older adults and their families. Call 1-800-3333-2433.