Senior housing facilities are made up of several apartments or cottages for independent living for adults aged 55+ (note: minimum ages can be higher than 55, and some facilities must admit younger disabled individuals). These facilities provide a secure, residential environment, but do not directly provide the type of extensive health care associated with nursing homes or assisted living. Those services may be available through separate arrangements with home care agencies or other providers. Senior housing offers privacy and independent living in buildings that are safe and well maintained. Many are architecturally designed to address some of the physical limitations that growing older may bring. For example, bathrooms may be equipped with handrails and grab bars or electrical outlets placed within easier reach. Many are equipped with 24-hour emergency call systems.
Senior housing may be provided in a stand-alone facility or as part of a retirement community that offers other services. Many senior housing facilities also offer or can arrange for a variety of supportive services such as meals, transportation, housekeeping, social activities, counseling, recreational programs, daily visits or telephone reassurances.
Monthly rents vary depending on the size of the housing unit, the location, the services offered and the income group the building is designed to serve. Subsidized housing is a type of senior housing that requires applicants to meet certain income qualifications to be considered for an apartment. Subsidized senior housing is overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). “Market-rate” housing is not subsidized and is open to individuals whose incomes enable them to pay the monthly rents that are typical for that geographic region and type of facility.
When deciding on senior housing for services, consider asking the following questions:
• Is the facility located close to family, doctors, pharmacy, grocery, shopping, houses of worship and public transportation?
• Are there entrance fees?
• What is the monthly rent?
• Are there other charges for services or meals?
• Does the facility arrange for coordination of health services?
• Does the facility offer transportation services or coordinate transportation for residents?
• What type of floor plan does the facility offer? Is it or can it be adapted as residents “age in place?”
• What is the facility’s policy when the resident needs more health care services?