Senior Apartments

Senior apartments are the most common type of independent senior living choice. Senior living apartments come in various sizes and can include a wide range of amenities.

Unlike many other senior housing options, senior citizen apartments are available to low-income adults through government subsidy programs. Therefore, they are a good choice for senior citizens of all income brackets, who wish to connect with others and build a community of similar-aged residents while still living independently. Keep reading to learn more about senior living apartments, how they differ from other senior housing choices and how to find an apartment in a safe location.

Good Candidates for Senior Apartments

Senior apartments are great for adults 55 years of age and older who wish to remain independent but want some relief from constant home upkeep duties. Residents of senior retirement apartments must be mentally and physically healthy enough to live alone without needing assistance for daily activities, such as eating, bathing, using the bathroom and light housekeeping. Senior living apartments provide community connections, similar to senior living communities, which help eligible seniors feel less lonely when they live apart from other family members.

Benefits of Senior Living Apartments

Senior living apartments can provide a variety of benefits for adults 55 years of age and older, who need a housing solution that provides independence and privacy, but can also help provide social engagement with other seniors. Most senior apartments are located in complexes or mid- to high-rise condominiums, and most have common areas where residents can dine and socialize together. Amenities can vary greatly between senior citizen apartments, but most provide residents with the following benefits:

  • Freedom from home maintenance and yard work
  • An opportunity to meet like-minded friends
  • More social engagement than those who live alone
  • The opportunity to dine with friends on-site
  • Transportation to doctor’s appointments and group outings
  • Keeping your own furniture and home décor
  • The ability to have your own small pet
  • On-site fitness classes and other educational opportunities
  • Community connections to home health providers, barbers and other local service providers who come to the apartment complex to render services to residents

Disadvantages of Senior Citizen Apartment Complexes

Although senior apartments for those 55 and older provide many benefits, there can be some downsides to this type of senior living arrangement. Disadvantages to living in a senior apartment include:

  • Some loss of privacy, particularly if you are accustomed to living in a single-family residence.
  • A smaller home than you may be accustomed to.
  • Senior apartments have limits on the size and number of pets you may have.
  • Higher noise levels from neighbors beside, above and/or below you.
  • Limits on how long children or grandchildren can visit you.
  • A lack of on-site health care assistance, if you begin to need it.
  • The rent for senior apartments can be high.

How to Lease a Good Senior Living Apartment

You can begin your search for senior citizen apartments by looking online for nearby complexes. Your local chapter of the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) is a good resource for personalized senior apartment recommendations. Potential applicants should always check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints against some facilities and their management. You can also check for online consumer reviews of senior independent living communities in your area.

Related Article: Independent Living Facilities

Once you settle on a few senior apartments to visit, make an appointment to tour model units. You may wish to bring a trusted relative or friend on your apartment search, to obtain another opinion and to help you remember what the leasing agent says about their services. Ask the senior retirement apartments manager about outdoor amenities such as a swimming pool or golf course, and what types of activities or classes are regularly scheduled on-site.

In addition, it is important to find out what types of security the senior apartments provide to residents. Ask about fire alarms, on-site security guards and emergency policies and procedures. Apartments for the elderly must also include safety features, such as sturdy handrails, non-slip flooring surfaces, well-trimmed foliage and excellent lighting.

Before signing a senior apartments lease, have a trusted friend or relative or ideally, your attorney, review the document. Make sure you fully understand all the requirements to live in you chosen apartment complex, especially the financial responsibility you are accepting. Check for senior apartment residents’ rights, including contract termination rights and rules regarding the eviction process. If you travel often, be sure to note any information regarding the apartment’s responsibility to you when you are away for more than a few days.

Because many age-restricted senior citizen apartments have strict rules against multi-generational living, make sure you fully understand how long children are grandchildren are allowed to visit you, and how often. There may also be limitations in the lease agreement over children and grandchildren’s access to common areas of the senior apartments complex.

Subsidized Senior Apartments for Low-Income Adults

Unlike most senior living options, low income senior apartments are available to those who qualify for certain government subsidy programs. Apartments for seniors based on income often have lengthy waiting lists, but can be a wonderful thing for many seniors when they come available. Most of these apartments are carefully designed with accessibility features and may include transportation services, social services and other benefits.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers senior citizen apartment rent subsidies and housing assistance through four programs:

  1. Public Housing: Operated by local housing authorities, these low income senior apartments require residents to pay approximately 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities.
  2. Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8): Some low income senior apartments are offered through the Section 8 program. Participants also pay about 30 percent of their income toward rent and utilities, and the voucher is used to pay the landlord the remaining monthly rent due.
  3. Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202): These senior apartments assist the frail elderly who also need help with transportation and self-care. HUD provides subsidies to property owners and residents of these properties.
  4. Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program: These exclusive apartments for seniors are funded through HUD tax credits to builders who create this housing option. The rent at these apartments is based on the area’s average income and applicants must meet specific eligibility requirements that vary according to location.

A non-subsidized low income senior apartment is for two or more friends to rent one apartment unit together. Cutting the rent in half or thirds can provide the savings needed to move into an apartment if one cannot qualify alone. Having a roommate or two can also provide valuable companionship through the retirement years.

Related Article: Continuing Care Communities

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