Seniors are living longer, healthier, and more social lives than ever before. Gathering with friends for a morning cup of coffee, catching a movie matinee, or enjoying a long stroll in warmth of the evening sun is often found on the to-do list of any active senior, and living in an environment where this is not only possible, but quite commonplace, is a must for today’s active and social seniors.
You’ve come to a point where you may now be considering how easy and fun life would be within a community of peers in a senior apartment complex. This guide was put together to help you better understand what to expect from senior apartments, and how to make the decision about which one in your area to call home.
Qualifications and Criteria for Residency
There are no universal criteria in place to qualify to live in senior apartments; as such, all senior apartments will likely have their own set of qualifications for residency. Some senior apartments have minimum age requirements, which is usually somewhere between 50 and 62, while others are geared toward low- or fixed-income seniors, and therefore have maximum income requirements in place.
Further, many senior apartments, which are often partially funded by the government, specialize in affordable housing for disabled or retired seniors. Senior apartment communities that are geared toward low-income seniors have very specific income restrictions, so it is important to fully understand these restrictions when shopping for a senior apartment.
Features of Senior Apartments
Seniors may choose senior apartments for social reasons, for lifestyle reasons, or for safety and security reasons. As such, it is important to identify which features you are seeking and hone in on those senior apartment homes that satisfy your specific needs and wants.
Senior apartments often offer a plethora of features and benefits, including:
- Low- or no-maintenance living
- Gated and secured entrances and buildings
- Building activities
- Private grounds
Amenities Found in Senior Apartments
In addition to offering seniors safe, affordable housing, senior apartments may boast a myriad of amenities that make life easy and convenient, much like many of today’s master-planned communities. In fact, many senior communities are geared toward the active lifestyles of today’s seniors and nurture the physical, mental and emotional well-being of its residents. Just some of the community amenities offered may include:
- Clubhouses with community amenities and party rooms
- Swimming pools and whirlpools
- Fitness centers with fitness classes and exercise machines
- Tennis, volleyball and basketball courts
- Outdoor picnic areas with barbecues and pavilions
- On-site laundry facilities
- On-site convenience stores
- On-site hair salons
- Seasonal and planned residence activities
Consider if Senior Apartment Living is For You
Although senior apartment communities offer an abundance of attractive features and benefits, this type of living may not be for everyone. As such, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I prepared to downsize? You may enjoy apartment living, but many seniors may have difficulty downsizing from a home to an apartment. In other words, consider whether it would be a difficult transition to make into an apartment and whether you would feel comfortable downsizing not only your home, but your furniture and belongings too.
- Are there adequate facilities and services nearby? Many seniors enjoy visiting public libraries, health centers, shopping malls, museums, and the like, so the location of the senior apartment building or complex, and the availability and location of public transportation facilities, may be a concern.
- Can the senior apartments accommodate my disability? Not all senior apartments cater to seniors with disabilities, so if you have difficulty walking or climbing stairs, for example, or if you anticipate experiencing these problems, you may check for such features as ample handicapped parking, handicapped bathroom facilities, as well as elevators and ramps.
- Are the lease terms acceptable? It may be in your best interest to pay close attention to the small print of senior apartment leases; in particular, language on rent increases, lease terms, and security deposits. Further, many senior apartment communities have clear language regarding such topics as guests, the use of community facilities, and the availability of services and amenities.
- Do I need access to immediate medical care? Unlike assisted living facilities or retirement communities, senior apartments generally do not provide in-house medical care. In general, senior apartments are geared toward active seniors without disabilities or diseases requiring a high-level of care or medical attention.