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Senior Living Communities

As older adults enter their golden years, many develop certain needs which can't be addressed through standard living arrangements. Some seniors need help around the house with cooking, cleaning and yard work, while others may require constant medical attention from nurses or physical therapists. Other seniors may be extremely independent but yearn to be around others their own ages. Some people aren't phased by getting old; for others, the experience can be disconcerting or overwhelming.


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Senior housing provides comfort, relief and assistance to meet the needs of the aging population. Older Americans have various senior housing options to choose from. Some senior living facilities provide constant monitoring and regimented activities, while other types provide housing communities for active, able-bodied seniors. Older adults who are considering senior living should speak with their doctors to help weigh their options.

Senior Apartments:

Senior apartments are for independent, able-bodied seniors who want nothing more than to live with others in their age groups. Many senior apartment complexes are similar to standard apartment buildings. However, these complexes meet federal housing guidelines that allow them to prohibit younger people from moving in. Most senior apartment buildings set minimum age requirements of either 55 or 62 years old. The majority of senior apartments rent at just below standard market rates. Luxury apartments are available for wealthy seniors, and low-income senior apartments are available for older adults who would struggle to pay average rental rates.

Independent Living:

Independent living communities -- also known as retirement communities or active living communities -- are designed for seniors who are mostly independent but could use some occasional help. Residents of independent living communities live in houses, cottages or apartment settings, and they enjoy social events such as game nights, shopping trips and exercise classes. Some retirement communities have walking trails, tennis courts and other facilities for maintaining physical fitness. These communities allow able-bodied seniors to continue living their independent lifestyles while still having access to healthcare or caregiver assistance.

Assisted Living:

Older adults who need an increasing amount of help in their daily lives are candidates for assisted living communities. Residents of these communities live in apartment-style units, but their buildings usually contain communal dining rooms, living areas and activities rooms. Assisted living communities employ housekeeping staffs, caregivers, cooks and healthcare professionals who can help residents with numerous daily tasks. Like independent living communities, assisted living communities also provide a wide variety of social and leisure activities.

Nursing Homes:

Nursing homes are the most intensive form of senior housing. These apartment-style communities are for seniors who need around-the-clock monitoring and continued medical attention. Nursing homes employ caregivers, nurses and therapists to address the many needs of their residents. Some nursing homes provide special facilities for residents with dementia, memory loss and permanent or developmental disabilities. There are also nursing homes for residents who are battling serious ailments such as heart disease or cancer.