What to Look for in Senior Apartments

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What to Look for in Senior Apartments

Eva R. Marienchild · Jun 5, 2015

Congratulations! You’ve decided on a Senior Apartments community and you couldn’t be happier! Now you just need to know what to look for and what to expect.

Senior habitats came about when it was discovered that folks over a certain age prefer living in a community of persons who are in similar circumstances — and close in age.

Establishing a home in a Senior Apartments Community will have you approaching a whole ‘nother, declutted phase in your life. Senior Apartments allow you to leave behind many property-related concerns. For instance, are your rose bushes getting to be too much? Don’t wish to put up Christmas or Hannukah lights on your front porch anymore? Are pulling the weeds and pruning the hydrangeas in early spring something you keep putting off?

These are just some of the tasks which will be handled for you.

In Senior apartments, repairs, landscaping and maintenance will no longer be entirely your responsibility…but by no means will they be overlooked. Most senior communities are very big on keeping the units and grounds tidy. If you so desire, you can mini-garden in a smaller yard. The hired crew will take care of the big jobs, like lawn care, edging, weed-wacking, and making sure bugs don’t over-run the place.

What sort of people move into these rentals? Why, people like you! The median age group is from 55 to 62+, and most residents will have a similar “declutter” mindset.

Does that mean you won’t encounter anyone younger? Not necessarily. Age-discrimination regulations, enforced by the Housing and Urban Development (or HUD) mandate that at least ONE resident must be no younger than 55, and that the rest of the apartment residents, younger than 55, must not make up more than 20% of the community population. (Exceptions are made for the handicapped.)

So why rent in a complex with a senior focus?

You’ll be in the company of seniors like you, who leave behind houses and yards and pick up the freedom to concentrate on travel, new friends, and to explore new avocational pursuits.

Other pluses? Housekeeping tasks are sometimes thrown in, as well as the usual amenities for seniors, such as shower handles, so that you may grip the shower when coming in and out of the tub, and ramps built into the pavement or front porch-area, for easy wheelchair access.

Who Decides on Senior Apartments – and Why?

Why do people over 55 move to such communities? A dramatic mid-life or later lifestyle shift (death of a spouse, a divorce, the death or relocation of loved ones, selling of property, etc.), and a desire for a support network of friends are among the most common reasons.

“We’re going to sell off our dividends and our property and invest the funds, to generate interest we can hopefully live off,” is another reason that is often heard. And, in some cases, increased longevity-a happily common new experience in this century- has brought about the phenomenon of outliving one’s pre-planned retirement income.

Pursuing Your Affordable Senior Housing Dream –

If you’re specifically looking for affordable Senior Housing, contact your local housing agency – city or county – and ask where such housing is located. If you Google Housing Authority and your state, you should get the entity you’re looking for.

What, exactly, constitutes affordable housing? Technically, one shouldn’t have to spend more than 30% of one’s income on housing and utilities. Housing that’s deemed affordable can be under the jurisdiction of either federal, county or city government.

A few categories:

Vouchers – which are provided by whichever mandated government body is in charge of such a program – ensure that the occupant pays no more than 30% of their income, in a market rate home. The balance is paid by whichever government entity has provided the voucher.

Bonds and Funding– Bonds are sold for the purpose of providing funds for the local housing community to invest in lower-income developments. These developments will have their own income restrictions – for instance, there may be a 50% cap on the portion of income which can be spent on rent

Pursuing Your Above-Market Rate Senior Housing Dream –

Not necessarily interested in affordable housing? Do you have enough disposable income to live in a luxury Senior community? These apartments are known as market-rate or above-market-rate Senior dwellings, and they offer conveniences like 5-star meals served restaurant-style, perhaps poolside, classes, golf and spas.

Steep entry fees are required, most of which are returned when you move out, or remitted to your estate, if you die.

“I’m Not Sure!”

If you aren’t 100% decided on Senior community living, but are carefully weighing the options , let’s examine a few facets.

  1. Consider whether you’ll miss the feeling of dirt under your fingers. You not be able to garden or maintain your flower bed to the degree you did before. As mentioned, landscaping tasks are usually done for you by the maintenance staff – although some only offer help with yardwork – and the rules are usually strict on what sort of plants and flowers can be kept on verandas.
  2. Have a large dog you would never give up? This lifestyle may not be for you, as many Senior communities frown on your keeping any animal larger than a Poodle or a Pomeranian. Ask before you sign on the dotted line.
  3. You most likely will still be able to feed the birds, however, as many such facilitates encourage individual bird feeders.
  4. Do your priorities include travelling more? Perhaps you desire to take a trip-around-the-world. In a Senior facility, you won’t need to hire a house sitter or pay a landscaping service to tend to your lawn while you’re away.
  5. In many of these facilities, activities meant to keep residents engaged and stimulated are built into the day’s agenda.

There you have it – the ins-and-outs of living in Senior Apartments. Ready to dive into your new clutter-free lifestyle and enjoy the support of a new group of staff and friends? Whatever you do, be happy…and have fun!

Stay positive!

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