Senior Living: What Is it, And How Much Does It Cost?

June 12, 2020 | Elisabeth Ritter

Senior Living: What Is it, And How Much Does It Cost?

Thinking about retiring? Ready to enjoy relaxing, socializing, and working on your golf game? This short guide on senior living will give you all the details about senior living. What it entails, how to find it, and how much it costs!

Finding the correct senior living situation for you or your loved ones is one of the most important elements of planning for the future. Where will you retire, and what kind of amenities do different kinds of places have? This decision will shape your future, and so it deserves time and care.

Senior Living Doesn't Have to Be Lonely

Figuring out how to retire and what to do after retiring can be a daunting task. The concept of retiring can be lonely, since you no longer see old co-workers and office mates every day. But that doesn't mean senior living has to be isolating. Seniors deserve to have access to other seniors, and together they deserve be able to enjoy retirement to its fullest.

That’s what senior living communities aim to provide. These communities and residences set up social interaction, fun activities, and the ability to finally learn that hobby you’ve been putting off for decades. They are a community for seniors by seniors, and are always cognizant of a senior’s needs.

Active Living Communities

There are a variety of different options when it comes to senior living. The most common situation is an “active living community.” Healthy seniors who enjoy active lives come together in these large communities. People live in their own spaces—usually one- to two-bedroom apartments—and have shared amenities, services, and shared resources. The best thing is that all of these resources and activities are designed by seniors for seniors. No longer will you be the slowest person in your yoga class; everyone around you is at your level!

However, active senior communities are the most expensive option. After all, they combine both a totally private apartment and a variety of services at your fingertips. These arrangements can often cost close to $5,000 a month, according to the Cost of Care 2019 survey. Be aware, though, that this is a national average, so the price might vary in your area.

Senior Apartment Buildings

Another option post-retirement is senior apartment buildings, which have all the features and services of a regular apartment buildings, except re-designed for older adults. They don't skimp on these considerations, either: Doors are wide enough for wheelchairs, the elevators run well, and sometimes you can even add cleaning services to your amenities.

Senior apartment buildings, like active living communities, often have shared amenities like fitness classes, on-site salons. and planned group actives. However, you might find these activities a little more crowded than in an senior living community. That said, senior apartment buildings are cheaper than active senior communities, averaging at around $4,000 per month according to the Cost of Care 2019 survey. Again, though prices may vary according to your area and when you're looking.

Co-Housing Options

Senior co-housing is another step for a person still seeking more community as a senior, but also a little more independence. People usually describe senior co-housing as dorm life for adults. You have your own bedroom and bathroom, but you share communal spaces like living rooms and kitchens.

These are a popular choice for seniors who are looking to replace some of the easy community of workplace friendships with an easy community of roommates. Each home has traditional amenities, and then there’s usually also a common house for larger parties. Often, co-housing community members will come together regularly for shared meals, outings, or events.

Perhaps best of all, this is the lowest cost option for most seniors. It's also the one that allows a seamless transition between the busy activity of a family home to the busy activity of a home filled with friends. Of course, it's not the option for everyone. Nonetheless, it is one of the most popular senior living arrangements for combining budget with community.

Considering Your Senior Living Options

Senior co-housing pricing varies greatly, as it depends on the location and the cost of housing in that location. However, this functions as a good general guide for dipping your toes into senior living options. There is a life beyond retirement!

Deciding what kind of senior living situation works for you is a big choice. Check out your local options, and don’t be scared to do a lot of research. Everyone has different needs, abilities, and priorities. The community you chose should be one that you can see yourself thriving in for years to come.

Sources: 1, 2

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