With the United States and the rest of the world beginning to experience the largest number of people over 55 in history, there has been a sharp increase in the number of available senior living facilities. As a senior citizen you have choices on where you want to live, what type of medical care you want to receive, how active you want to be, and what type of community you want to hang your hat in. From assisted living to retirement communities to low income housing, this is a complete guide to every living option that seniors have at their disposal.

Assisted Living

caregiverAssisted living facilities are a viable alternative for seniors who need help with some of their day to day activities. These facilities are great for those seniors who either cannot or do not want to live alone, but do not require substantial care every day. For example, most assisted living facilities will help seniors with medications, certain everyday activities, meals, housekeeping, and transportation. However, seniors can still have their privacy when and to whatever extent they desire. These facilities have common areas where seniors can eat, mingle and get help from the nurses/staff that are available. In addition, there are private apartments for every senior that have a limited kitchen area attached. There are certain members of staff who are available 24/7, should any problems arise. These facilities can cost anywhere from $2,500 a month to $4,500 a month, depending on the type of room and the location. Most major cities have assisted living facilities and there are some nice ones in Scottsdale and Phoenix, as well as Denver, Seattle, and a perennial favorite – San Diego. Regardless of what city you want to live in there are really great senior care assisted living facilities that you can choose from.

Retirement Homes

Couple at retirement homeRetirement homes are an ideal solution for seniors who are well enough to perform life’s daily activities without assistance, but would rather not burden themselves with some other everyday tasks. Retirement homes are designed as apartment complexes, with each senior having their own apartment/room where they can live privately. Seniors take care of themselves independently, but the retirement home will arrange for apartment/general area cleaning, gardening, transportation and other amenities. Some retirement homes also come with meal plan options, should seniors not desire to cook for themselves. The level of nursing care at a retirement home is minimal. While there are nurses on standby for emergency situations, nurses and staff are not there to help seniors with everyday tasks. The cost of retirement homes varies greatly from state to state. They are typically priced between $2,500 to $6,000 a month, depending on the quality of facility, size of your room, and the amenities offered.

Home Health Agencies

Senior with her home health aidSome seniors may need assistance with certain everyday activities, but will vehemently oppose having to move to a living facility. For these seniors, contacting home health agencies is the best solution. Home care allows them to live in their own house, while still receiving the standard of care that is necessary. Home care nurses will provide seniors with as much assistance as they need while they perform the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and preparing meals. Nurses/staff members can also help seniors with transportation, bill payments, and overall emotional support. Most of these situations involve an hourly pay rate for nurses/professionals, with the rare case of a live in nursing assistant. Typically, the hourly rate for these nurses is between $14-$24 an hour. Costs are estimated to be around $3,500 a month to $6,000 a month, depending on how long a nurse stays, the extent of their assistance, and the state in which the senior lives.

Independent Living Communities

Slightly different from retirement homes, senior independent living communities create a whole area where seniors can come and rent/buy houses or apartments to live in. These communities are perfect for seniors who want a change in their living circumstances, but are well enough to take care of themselves. Independent living communities will take care of everyday maintenance chores such as cleaning, gardening, housekeeping, and even cooking. This allows seniors to focus on enjoying their lives while living a very active adult lifestyle. Transportation arrangements are also made for seniors, and those vary from one facility to the next. Each independent living community is likely to have some common, recreational areas where seniors can sit, eat together, play games, sports, or exercise. This gives seniors the option between complete privacy or a more community style experience. Independent living communities are priced differently in each state, and vary based on the type of living area you choose. There are one bedroom or studio options, and houses/apartments as big as three bedrooms within independent living communities.

55 and Over Communities

Older man in his front yard55 and older communities are great because they allow seniors to kick back and not burden themselves with some of the strenuous tasks of everyday life. Seniors can still live independently and in the manner they choose, but the community around them will be of a more senior-centric style. These communities are very new, and often contain houses that were built in the last five to ten years. They are very safe, include state of the art features, and provide a high level of comfort and security. You will find non-slip bathtubs, fewer stairs, and other safety measures that give seniors greater peace of mind. There are community events for seniors to enjoy, such as outings, gatherings, golf courses, walking areas, gyms, pools, and sports courts. The cost for living at a 55 plus community is very similar to regular property in the area. A home/apartment can be either rented or purchased in a 55 and over community.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled Nursing FacilityNursing homes are essential for seniors who need a great deal of care while performing the activities of daily living. Skilled nursing homes are perfect for seniors who are sick, frail, or in general need of intense care. Nursing homes will provide seniors with 24/7 care through a team of highly skilled nurses and assistants. These facilities provide both short term and long term stay options. For seniors who are temporarily unable to take care of themselves, retirement homes can provide an option for a few weeks or months. After the senior is recovered, they can go back to their regular living situation. In other cases, a senior may be at a point in their life where they wish to stay at a nursing home permanently. These homes come with a cost of $4,000 to $8,000 per month.

Senior Low Income Housing

For seniors who do not have the income to afford living at a facility, there are low income housing options provided by states throughout the United States. These low income housing buildings are typically of good quality, and they contain regular apartment units where seniors can live independently. The rent for these apartments is heavily subsidized, which helps seniors who are not in the greatest financial situation. There are many senior housing options you will want to make sure to do a lot of research to find the best one.

Each of these options is subtly different from the others. Seniors should take their time, assess their finances, and look at the type of facility that best meets their needs. Making an impulsive decision could lead to months or years of regret. It is vital that seniors, and their families, visit the facilities they are considering before they make a final decision about where to live.