Senior housing is an affordable option for older adults who want access to independent living, basic amenities, and a network of supportive neighbors. Most of these communities have a minimum age requirement for residents and have basic amenities such as laundries, patios, clubs, pools, and other common areas. Some apartment complexes for seniors also offer maintenance and cleaning services as well as 24/7 emergency assistance.
In this guide, I'll discuss why housing for seniors can be a cost-effective choice and cover some of the benefits of living with other seniors rather than alone.
Pro tip:If you're looking for more affordable independent living options, check out our guideHousing alternatives for seniors.
What are senior housing?
Apartments for the elderly are flat-sharing communities that are reserved for people who are older than 55 or, in some cases, 62 years of age. They are cheaper than other senior housing, but generally smaller than townhouses or senior housing.
However, there is noticeably less care, gardening and maintenance required in a senior residence as the complex can take care of pesticide control, gardening, sanitation and garbage, among other things. Senior Apartments also have no monthly HOA fees.
As with any apartment building, facilities vary greatly from one community to another. Some affordable communities have minimal common areas, while more upscale senior housing can offer access to upscale restaurants, events for seniors, day spa services, and even wellness centers.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION:Living in a senior housing can give you the flexibility to travel without worrying about maintenance, water leaks, or other issues. read mySenior Guideto find your next travel destination.
Who Should Consider Senior Housing?
The senior housing is ideal for those who want to reduce the size and give up the maintenance work associated with living in a house. They give you the freedom to travel without having to worry about what might happen to your home while you're away. Depending on the number of amenities and maintenance services your complex offers, you won't have to deal with huge maintenance costs.
Most senior communities are strictly for people over the age of 55, but in some states the minimum age is 62.
Who is eligible for senior housing?
Senior housing has age restrictions in order to reserve the shared apartment primarily for older adults. There are some exceptions to the rules, as some communities allow residents to have a younger person with them as long as a family member meets the minimum age. For more information on how to qualify for a 55 and older housing exemption, visitHousing and urban development website.
Can children and spouses live in senior housing?
In some cases, children and spouses can live in apartments for the elderly. Typically, one family member must be of minimum age for younger family members to live in the same home. The Fair Housing Act provides exceptions to liability or marital status discrimination for older adults with family members under the age of 18.
In order for a facility to qualify for a senior housing exemption, it must meet certain requirements. One of the requirements is that at least 80% of the units have at least one resident who is 55 years of age or older.
If you have a younger child or spouse who would live with you in a senior housing, confirm with your property manager that this is allowed.
Types of senior housing
There are three levels of senior housing, varying in price and amenities.
Affordable senior housing
If you are on a limited income, you can look into low-income or subsidized housing options for financial assistance. These communities often participate in federal programs to provide seniors with more affordable rental options. They probably offer fewer amenities than other options, but their pricing makes them a good choice.
As with anything housing related, the price varies by location. These shared apartments often cost less than comparable non-retirement housing in the same areas.
market price apartments
Market price apartments are usually offered for market rent in a specific area. Compared to affordable senior housing, market price housing offers a competitive rent compared to traditional housing for all ages. Amenities often include transportation, meals, swimming pools, and cleaning and maintenance services.
Luxury apartments for seniors are the most expensive compared to other options. Amenities often include health and wellness centers, pools, spas, fine dining, group fitness classes, and game rooms. Prices vary widely based on location, square footage, and amenities, but typically start at around $5,300 per condo unit.
Care in senior housing
As a rule, there is no care in apartments for the elderly, not even for nursing purposes. If you need helpmedication managementor other responsibilities of daily living, senior housing is probably not the best option for you.
AlthoughAssisted living costsIt's significantly more than a senior living, offering mobility, dressing and meal assistance that you won't find in a senior living. To learn more about assisted living, read our guide:What is assisted living?
Furnishings in senior housing
The furnishing of retirement homes depends on many factors. A luxury senior apartment may offer more recreational or entertainment options, while a budget senior apartment offers more basic amenities like bathtubs or laundry services.
Here is an overview of some amenities that can be offered in senior housing:
- Private or shared apartments (studio, one-room apartment, two-room apartment, suites)
- community pools
- Terrace areas or balconies
- Transport services
- wellness centers
- Chapel and Worship Centers
- computer rooms
- private Theater
- sports fields
- wheelchair accessibility
- group fitness classes
- preparation of the meal
- Beauty and body care salon
Did you know:Did you know you can install a walk-in bathtub in just one day? To learn more, read ourWalk-in Bathtub Guideand our summary for this yearbest bathtubs.
How much do senior housing cost?
Senior housing costs vary widely depending on your location and the type of amenities you are looking for. The number of senior renters is growing nationwide and it is expected that by 2035 senior renters will reach 31% of the rental population.
The average cost of senior housing in some states ranges from $800 to $6,000 for luxury housing. I have compiled approximate prices for senior housing at market prices below, but prices vary.
- California: $1,300+ per month
- Texas: $1,100+ per month
- Ohio: $600+ per month
- Florida: $400+ per month
Low income senior housing
For seniors with low income or savings, low-income or government-subsidized senior housing can be a good option. You can find out about senior-specific rental programs or other low-cost rental housing in your neighborhood by visiting your city government's website or your local senior center. These units are generally available to people aged 55 and over.
You can also look into subsidized housing or state and local senior programs. You can apply for a rental subsidy with aChoice of housing voucherpay part or full rent.
Eligibility for a housing voucher depends on your total gross annual income, family size, and other criteria. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, your income must not exceed 50% of the median income in the area where you choose to live. Other criteria such as assets and proof of employment also determine your eligibility for the program.
You can also apply for a barrier-free apartment via apublic housing officein your state or find other affordable senior housing with HUDsFind a housing resource.
How to choose a senior housing
When choosing a senior living home, consider the amenities, square footage, and other unique features it may offer. I've come up with a few questions to ask yourself when deciding on senior housing.
- Does the apartment offer amenities like community events, game room and a spa for exercise and group activities?
- Is the apartment pet friendly? If so, are there breed restrictions?
- Are residents and staff approachable and supportive?
- Is the neighborhood safe and within walking distance to important destinations?
- Is the apartment complex wheelchair accessible? Are there handrails, limited stairs or grab bars?
- Is the complex rent controlled?
- Are there multiple floor plans?
- Can I bring a family member into the apartment?
- Are driving services offered?
- Does the apartment have 24 hour emergency assistance or security cameras?
- Are the apartments furnished or unfurnished?
- Does the condo accept housing vouchers for low income seniors?
- Are there common rooms (computer labs, recreation center, etc.) or laundry facilities on site?
- Is parking secure and easy to find?
- How far is the apartment complex from other senior facilities?
How to find senior housing
Finding senior housing is an important step on your new path. If you've lived alone for a while or are thinking of a change of scenery, a retirement home could be a welcome change.
I recommend checking your budget before deciding how much you are willing to pay for the rent. I also recommend contacting or finding local senior centersCounty-level senior housing resourcesin your state. You can search seniors or 55+ shared apartments near you for rental information. Check the square footage, amenities, pet-friendly units, and whether the complex you're looking for has a supportive staff and community.
Further information on apartments, home ownership or general housing advice can be found in the following guides:
- 2023 Guide to Senior Residences
- Resources for Seniors
- List of the best assisted living facilities
- Low income assisted living
- Apartments for seniors
- Medicare and Medicaid coverage for assisted living
- Medicare and Medicaid coverage of nursing homes
- Assisted living versus nursing home
- Senior Condominiums
- condominiums for the elderly
frequently asked questions
- How do senior citizens' apartments differ from classic apartments?
Senior housing differs from traditional housing in that the units are typically reserved for residents over the age of 55 only.
- How old do you have to be to live in a retirement home?
To qualify for senior housing, one family member must be at least 55 years old. Younger family members can live in the unit as long as the older adult is eligible for the housing exemption.
- What are the advantages of living in senior housing?
Some of the many benefits of living in a senior housing are affordable rents, community living, access to many amenities, and less upkeep and maintenance.
- How do I find senior housing?
You can search for senior housing on websites such as apartments.com or check with your city office for senior housing or resources in your area.
- Which is better: senior housing or assisted living?
Both options are great for older adults, but it all comes down to preference and needs. If you are looking for independent living with a support network for seniors, I would recommend senior housing. If you need help with medication administration or other personal care services, I recommend an assisted living facility.
How do I prepare for a retirement home interview? ›
- Arrive On-Time. ...
- Dress Professionally. ...
- Share Why You're Passionate About Senior Living. ...
- Ask Questions. ...
- Just Be Yourself! ...
- Follow-Up With Your Recruiter or Hiring Manager.
Section 202 housing is meant for those aged 62 or better or those with disabilities. Seniors qualify for this program if their income falls under the median income for a particular area (city, county, etc.).How do you qualify for low income senior housing in Texas? ›
An eligible resident is a person 62 years or older or a person 18 years or older who has a physical disability that affects mobility. Additionally, your gross annual income must not exceed the HUD income limits, and you must also meet the terms of the lease.At what age can you apply for senior housing in NYC? ›
Senior Building Eligibility
To be eligible for a senior building, you or your co-head (spouse or domestic partner, if any) must be at least 62 years of age and all other household members must be at least 62 years of age.
Some common retirement mistakes are not creating a financial plan and not contributing to your 401(k) or another retirement plan. In addition, many people take their Social Security distributions too early, don't rebalance their portfolios to match risk tolerance, and spend beyond their means.What should I do first week of retirement? ›
- Move Somewhere New: Have you ever wanted to live in the country? ...
- Travel the World: ...
- Get a Rewarding Part-Time Job: ...
- Give Yourself Time to Adjust to a Fixed Income: ...
- Exercise More:
The Elderly Waiver (EW) program provides home and community-based services for people who need the level of care provided in a nursing home but who choose to live in the community. You must qualify for Medical Assistance to be eligible for Elderly Waiver services.What programs are available for low income seniors in Minnesota? ›
These include Utility (Energy Assistance and/or EAP in Minnesota), Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI), Lifeline Telephone Assistance programs, MN Supplemental Assistance (MSA), rent or subsidized housing assistance, and food stamps.Is there rent assistance for seniors in MN? ›
Section 202 Minnesota Rental Housing Program is a federally subsidized rent assistance program specifically designed for older residents whose age is 62 years old or older. Eligible low-income individuals can choose their house, apartment, or flat and 70 percent of their rent will be paid by this program.What do you say in a senior home interview? ›
Explain why a career in assisted living is personally fulfilling, and portray how this role directly fits into your plan for the future. Make sure that the interviewer not only understands why you're perfect for the job but also how you're able to contribute to the community's advancement and long-term plans.
What are the tips to pass the interview? ›
- Tell the truth. ...
- Listen carefully to the interviewer. ...
- Never slight a teacher, friend, employer, or your university. ...
- Watch your grammar. ...
- Be prepared for personal questions. ...
- Wait for the interviewer to mention salary and benefits. ...
- Don't expect a job offer at the first interview. ...
- Close on a positive, enthusiastic note.
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you interested in working for this company?
- Tell me about your education.
- Why have you chosen this particular field?
- Describe your best/worst boss.
- In a job, what interests you most/least?
- What is your major weakness?
- 1) Tell me about yourself… ( ...
- 2) Why do you want to work for us? ( ...
- 3) Why should we hire you? ( ...
- 4) What are your strengths/weaknesses? ( ...
- 5) Why did you leave that job? /