More Housing Options for Seniors


Filed under Living & Housing

Many older people want to stay in their own homes or at least in the same neighborhood. The maintenance and upkeep of a large family home is not always a practical option, physically and financially. But a retirement home sounds so… retired.

So, where are you going to live if you leave the home your children grew up in? There are a few options that you might want to explore if you are adamant about not moving into a structured retirement facility.

Manufactured Mobile Homes are an increasingly attractive choice for older folks. These homes are affordable, energy efficient, spacious and some of the models are designed especially for seniors, utilizing “universal design” features. If zoning ordinances permit, they can be assembled near or on family property, or moved to a senior mobile home community.

Cooperatives are usually found in urban areas. Homes in a cooperative combine the benefits of home ownership with the convenience and efficiency of multi-family housing. This idea appeals to those who want to build equity in their accommodations but don’t want the isolation or responsibility of a larger home.

Condominiums are also an option. This type of ownership offers many advantages to older people. Condos are different from a conventionally owned single-family home or an apartment. While you are holding title to your own living unit, you share ownership of common areas.

Accessory Apartments are worth considering if your house is too large and the utility bills and maintenance are too much for you. An accessory apartment is a second, completely private living unit created in the extra space of a single family home. You may have heard it called a MIL or mother-in-law apartment.

ECHO Housing (Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity) or Granny Flats are also an option. These separate, self-contained units are designed for temporary installation in the side or backyard of an adult child’s home.
Home Matching Programs have been gaining in popularity because of the lack of adequate senior housing. The idea is that you contact a service (often for a fee) that matches people up as roommates. When it works, it is an excellent situation and can enable an older person to stay in his/her own home, while relieving the feelings of isolation and loneliness that many older people experience. A good home-matching service offers counseling to provide help in identifying needs and concerns.

Shared Housing is a similar option. This is what the TV sitcom Golden Girls was all about. It can be economical, provide companionship, and provide a sense of security. It is a peer group situation, but it is not for everyone. If you’ve never lived with others (or have been on your own for many years), you may find it difficult.

Adult Foster Care, or Adult Family Homes, is provided in a private home occupied by an individual or a family who will offer room, meals, housekeeping, and minimal supervision for a month fee. Staff are not permitted to administer medications, however, unless they are nurses.

Retirement Hotels (also called Senior Resident Hotels or Senior Apartments) are hotels intended for people over 62. Some hotels are high-rises and have landscaped gardens while others are drab concrete shoe boxes, but they are usually built in good locations with nearby public transportation. Rent can include meals and maid service, activities programs, assistance with personal grooming, and access to a chore service for a fee.
A Boarding House is when you are basically renting a room, sometimes shared, in someone else’s house, with a manager on the premises.

Senior Apartment Houses are monthly rentals with a variety of options. Some have security systems, activities, and a full complement of services, while others offer lodging only.

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