As we age, our housing needs change. For some seniors, that means downsizing to a smaller home or moving into an assisted living facility. For others, it may mean finding affordable senior housing that meets their budget and needs. In this Senior Assistance Club guide, we’ll look at what affordable housing for seniors is and how to find it.
Affordable housing options for seniors are designed for seniors with low or moderate incomes. These properties typically offer a variety of amenities such as on-site services, social activities, and transportation assistance. In addition, these properties usually have income restrictions in place in order to ensure that only those who qualify for the program are able to live there.
There are a variety of affordable senior housing options available and the type of housing you choose will depend on your needs and preferences.
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.
One popular type of affordable senior housing is senior apartments and condos. These are age-restricted communities that typically provide seniors with a maintenance-free lifestyle. All the common areas in these communities are taken care of by the staff, freeing up residents to enjoy their retirement years. Additionally, most senior apartment and condo complexes have a variety of amenities like fitness centers, pools, and social lounges for residents to enjoy.
The biggest downside to senior apartments and condos is that they can be quite expensive. To live in one of these communities, seniors typically must sign a long-term lease agreement. The monthly rent can also be quite high, making it difficult for some seniors to afford it.
Tip: Familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood before you move. Research nearby amenities like grocery stores, parks, and places of worship. This will help you feel more comfortable in your new surroundings.
Another type of affordable living for seniors is co-operative housing. This type of housing typically consists of small apartments or houses that are owned by a cooperative organization. Seniors who live in co-operative housing are typically responsible for taking care of their own units as well as the common areas in the community. The co-operative organization typically takes care of big tasks like mowing the lawn and shoveling snow.
The main advantage of co-operative housing is that it's usually much less expensive than other types of senior housing options. This is because the cooperative owns all of the property and only charges residents a reasonable monthly fee to cover maintenance and upkeep costs. Additionally, many co-operatives offer short-term leases so that seniors can try out this type of housing without making a long-term commitment.
The biggest disadvantage of co-operative housing is that it doesn't offer the same level of convenience and amenities as other types of senior living options. For example, there may not be any on-site staff available to help with household tasks or take care of common areas. Additionally, co-operative housing communities typically don't have any amenities like fitness centers or social lounges for residents to enjoy.
Tip: It’s important to take some time to learn about the different types of co-operative housing options available. There are several different models, and each has its own distinct advantages. Once you have a better understanding of the options available, you can start to narrow down their search.
As the senior population is radically expanding, so are options for senior assisted living care. 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.) Don’t forget to factor in the cost of assisted living facilities when making a decision.
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.
One option that is often overlooked is home care for older adults. Home care can provide seniors with the assistance they need to stay in their homes, while also freeing up space in their homes for other family members. In addition, home care for senior citizens is often more affordable than other types of housing, such as assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
Home care can also be tailored to each individual's needs, making it a more flexible and customizable option. If you are considering home care for a senior loved one, be sure to research the different providers in your area to find one that best meets your needs.
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.
These days, it’s a lot easier to find out the best affordable housing options for senior citizens. 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 affordable senior housing options. You don’t have to make a final plan. Getting started with familiarizing yourself is the best first step.
Are you struggling and finding yourself near homelessness? There are programs and people who can provide you with affordable living for senior citizens. 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: “affordable 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.
Another way to find affordable senior housing is to check with your local government or social services agency. They may have information on subsidized housing developments or other programs that can help seniors with their housing costs. For example, the Section 202 program provides funding for non-profit organizations to develop senior housing communities. To be eligible for this program, seniors must be 55 years of age or older and have a low income.
Additionally, many state and local governments offer property tax relief programs for seniors who meet certain income and residency requirements. These programs can help seniors reduce their housing costs by lowering their property taxes.
Tip: Go out there and get started. You won’t know what’s available if you don’t ask. You can even head to your local community centers to inquire about any senior citizen housing assistance programs they may know about.
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.