Are you looking for affordable living options? Are you struggling to pay the rent? If you want to find the best options for this stage of your life, here are practical hands-on tips to get started.
These days, it’s a lot easier to find out the best options for senior living. You can use online tools, explore the Internet, and chat with fellow-seekers in online forums.
What’s the best place to start?
The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging. They can connect you to services, resources, and programs for seniors. You can call them at 1-800-677-1116 or go online for a comprehensive list of housing options and resources.
Tip: Start today. Spend 30 minutes today reviewing options. You don’t have to make a final plan. Getting started with familiarizing yourself is the best first step.
As the senior population is radically expanding, so are options for senior living communities. You may have been hearing about some of these in your city, county, or state.
What’s the best way to investigate?
Talk to your friends, neighbors, and associates. Some of your circle is likely looking into senior living communities. You may be able to visit some friends and get candid feedback. In addition, moving to facilities with your long-time friends gives you the extra special advantage – you’ll feel right at home.
You may want to talk with a senior living advisor, who much like real estate brokers, are paid by senior living communities. You don’t have to pay out of pocket to talk to an expert.
Perhaps you’re wondering where you can find an advisor.
Start by contacting your county’s Area Agency on Aging. There are over 600 Area Agencies on Aging across the United States. They may have a list of vetted advisors.
You may also want to contact a senior living community in your area, as they may have recommendations for reputable advisors.
Additionally, you could talk with another senior provider who may be able to provide a recommendation. These could be an elder law attorney, a home care agency manager, or a geriatric care manager.
If you are looking into assisted living communities, you may want to start investigating with the help of consumer guides offered by the American Health Care Association (AHCA.)
Tip: Make a list today. Who do you know who has recently moved to a facility in your area? Get in touch with an email or phone call. Schedule a visit. You don’t have to make a decision, but starting your investigation starts here.
Tip: Search for a senior living advisor. Get the ball rolling.
Are you putting off looking into housing options because you think it’s unaffordable? If so, many charitable and government programs may be able to help.
Many charities are working to help seniors find safe shelter. Often, charitable programs work with local services to provide food and shelter assistance. These may include the United Way, Council of Jewish Federations, Catholic Charities, Council of Churches, The Salvation Army, the American Red Cross as well as local government.
Start by talking with a resource coordinator via Area Agency on Aging. Additionally, your local Department of Social Services can often help. Connect with a social worker to determine if you may be eligible for any government programs. Talking with a living human being can help. He or she can steer you in the right direction, based on your situation.
Low-income housing tax credit (LITHTC) is a program that ensures there is enough low-income housing to meet the needs of the community. While it is not exclusively designed for seniors, seniors who meet the income criteria can participate in the program. You may be able to find HUD-approved housing that offers the housing tax credit.
Section 8 offers low-income residents “safe and reasonable” accommodation. If your income doesn’t exceed 50% of the median income in your area, you may be eligible. This program is not specifically designed for seniors, yet it may help you find accommodations.
Section 202 is a government-funded program is specifically designed for adults 62 and older, who meet a “very low income” requirement. Similar to Section 8, if approved, participants pay 30% of their income for rent in government-subsidized housing.
Tip: Check out one program today. Make a plan to have your top programs identified by the end of this month.
Are you struggling and finding yourself near homelessness? There are programs and people who would like to help. Perhaps you are living in your RV or your car. Maybe you could prevent eviction, get emergency shelter, or transitional housing.
Senior Navigator, a non-profit resource for Virginia seniors, details many common emergency programs that may meet your current needs. Each state may have similar programs and services in place, so talk with your local program providers that serve seniors or adults near homelessness. You are not alone. People in your community may be able to advise you of national and local programs that can help.
Tip: Talk with friends, family. Check-in with a caseworker, outreach worker, or social worker in your area.
Exploring local programs is often the fastest way to get help and move forward. If you are aware of shelters, senior centers, and community programs – now is the time to take advantage.
It can be difficult to ask for help. You might feel that you should have prevented this situation, been more proactive, or had help from your family. However events occurred, and being hard on yourself is not the most helpful approach.
Talk to your neighbors. Ask friends for input on local programs.
Use the Internet to do a comprehensive search. Some of the best options for senior assistance and housing may be geographically related, so type in: “senior housing local” or “senior assistance ‘my city’” to find the programs near you.
Tip: Many housing programs are local and will appear when you search online in your city, neighborhood, county, or state.
Many programs exist to help seniors find safe and affordable housing. You are not alone. Get help from your friends and family. Connect with advisors, social workers, and service providers who can help advocate for your needs.