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Housing Options For Seniors – A Guide To 15 Types Of Living Communities

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Senior housing options.

Senior citizens and baby boomers are very fortunate these days because there have never been so many different types of housing for the elderly population and for those just entering that phase of their lives.


What are today’s housing options for seniors? – There are 15 different types of housing options for older adults (seniors and elderly) which include:

  • granny pods
  • subsidized housing
  • active adult communities
  • active adult rental communities
  • tiny home retirement communities
  • rv retirement communities
  • senior villages
  • senior co-housing
  • home sharing
  • residential care homes
  • independent living
  • assisted living
  • continuing care communities
  • memory care units
  • and nursing homes

All of these options have pros and cons and not all are available in all locations.

For example, the option of “senior villages” is not yet as widespread and popular as residential care homes so there are fewer villages throughout the world.

But, that may change as time goes on!

With so many senior living options to consider, it’s important to know what each one offers to help you make the best decision for your own lifestyle.

Trying to decide where to retire? Read our article on how to choose retirement locales. We also have a guide for LGBTQ+ retirees.

15 Housing Alternatives for Seniors

As you can tell, some of these options are meant for older adults who intend to age in place, other options are more geared towards retirement communities and care homes.

If you’re interested in building an eco friendly home that is also tailored to people aging in place or with disabilities, take a look at this article on EcoWatch.

All of these senior housing options have their pros and cons – the idea is to find the type of housing that works best for you and/or your senior loved ones.

So, let’s go over the pros and cons of each one of these.

1) Granny Pods

It seems that Granny Pods and backyard bungalows have begun to take over the market!

Growth in the sector has been fueled by changes to local and state zoning rules. Some municipalities are struggling with a lack of affordable housing and see these additional units as one remedy.

For seniors, it’s a great way to live close to family members but still be in their own home.

Adult children are building tiny homes in the backyard for their elderly parent(s) and it can work out very well.

Everyone has their own living space and independence, yet everyone is close enough to help each other when and if needed.

The Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is a great example of a tiny house you can get through Amazon. It is 540 square feet and retails for about $34,000 (in 2019). Plus, you might even be able to get free shipping!


  • Customizable – because most Granny Pods are built from scratch they can be customized to meet the specific needs of whomever will be inhabiting them. This could include things like grab bars where you need them, non slip flooring, alert systems built into the home, etc.
  • Close to family – you can’t get any closer to family or friends except if you lived in their homes with them. Living in your own dwelling in the back or side yard is extremely close! Great for when and if you need them and for when they need you!
  • No problem with pets – some of the other housing options mentioned in this article will have restrictions on pets. Either the number of pets you can own or if you can own any at all. There should be no issues bringing your own pets to a granny pod.


  • Can be expensive – building an entire new home (even though they are usually smaller) is not inexpensive if you have a builder do it.
  • In home care services must be considered – whenever a senior decides to age in place it’s important to consider the cost of in home care if and when such services are needed.
  • Possible upgrades to electrical and plumbing – there may need to be upgrades made to existing electrical and plumbing to the current home in order to accommodate the new building in the yard.
  • Zoning issues – although many communities across the country are allowing ADU’s – it’s not a guarantee that they are allowed in your specific location. Check with your city’s zoning board before you make any purchases and/or plans.

Even if you choose to simply move to a smaller home (vs. a granny pod or tiny home) – downsizing to a smaller space may allow you to upgrade safety features in the home.

2) Subsidized Housing

Subsidized housing (aka Public Housing) for seniors is a type of affordable housing that is specifically designed to meet the needs of older adults.

These communities typically offer a wide range of amenities and services, such as on-site health care, social activities, and transportation assistance.

In some cases, subsidized senior housing may also provide access to meals and laundry service.

The term “subsidized” refers to the fact that these housing options are typically subsidized by the government, which helps to keep the costs down for residents.

In order to qualify for subsidized senior housing, adults must meet certain age and income requirements.

Some communities may also have preferences for residents who are disabled or have other special needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about subsidized housing for seniors, contact your local housing authority or search online for communities in your area.

You can also ask your family and friends if they know of any options that might be a good fit for you.


  • Safety – subsidized housing can provide safe, clean, and affordable housing for those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
  • Mitigates homelessness – reducing the number of homeless individuals can help not only those individuals but the community as well by reducing poverty and crime.
  • Improve local economy – with less being spent on housing, more can be spent on food and other goods from the local businesses.


  • Maintenance – subsidized housing can sometimes be poorly maintained and can attract crime.
  • Isolation – subsidized housing can create a feeling of isolation among residents, as most of their neighbors are in the same situation.
  • Difficult to access – subsidized housing can be difficult to get into, as there is often more demand than there are units available.

3) Active Adult Communities (aka Retirement Villages)

Active adult communities are the 55+ communities that many of us are familiar with.

I lived in South Florida for 25 years and down there, it seems there are many of these types of communities scattered around town.

As the name implies, active senior communities are for those who want (and are capable of having) an independent lifestyle.

There are no support services provided, although there are usually medical professionals and personal care services nearby. Transportation services aren’t typically provided either.

Below is a list of the general pros and cons of living in an active adult community (please know that every community is different).


  • Amenities – most seniors choose this type of community based on the amenities it provides. Things like a clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pools, entertainment, social clubs, golf course, etc. Choose your community based on the list of activities you would like to participate in.
  • NO KIDS – for many seniors, this means quiet streets and a very decreased chance of your front lawn getting wrapped up in toilet paper on Halloween!
  • Age Appropriate Neighbors – when you’re 65 years old and your neighbors are 25 – it’s not going to be easy to find things in common. But when your neighbors are much closer to your own age group – you can instantly make friends that are close by!
  • Maintaining Your Property – depending on the type of housing you live in – your home maintenance responsibilities can certainly be reduced. I personally live in a single family cluster home which means I have a small yard around my home but I don’t have to mow it or trim the bushes or trees. Townhomes in my community don’t have to pay for roof repair updates and painting (outside). Having these issues taken care of for you goes a long way to making your senior years much easier to manage.


  • HOA Restrictions – if you have never lived under an HOA (Home Owners Association) then it may be very difficult to adjust to the idea of having to run every idea / plan that you may want to implement in your home through a group of HOA board members for approval. Each community has their own HOA set of guidelines. I urge you before you purchase your home in an active adult community to become familiar with what is and what is not allowed in that community.
  • Monthly HOA Dues Can Be High – there are some 55+ communities with monthly HOA fees as high as $700.00 and some even higher! This can be very prohibitive for many seniors. But know that there are many with lower fees – you just have to do your research!
  • Homes are smaller – so downsizing is a must in most 55+ homes. Honestly, I don’t think this is necessarily a con (in fact I would consider it a Pro) but I am the exception. I know that for many of my elderly friends and relatives, the idea of downsizing and getting rid of their things is just horrifying.
  • Home care services – for some, the cost of having nursing care or home health services is beyond their budget so anytime you or a senior loved one is considering aging in place – these costs must be taken into consideration.

The best advice that I can give you is to choose a retirement village that offers you the type of activities that you would enjoy doing along with the type of residents that you may feel most connected with.

After all, if you’re a very conservative type of person, it may be difficult for you to integrate in a community full of hippy liberals (and vice versa).

I only mention this because I know two senior friends who made this very same mistake and ended up moving not once, but twice to find the right type of community for themselves.

So, do your homework!

Many retirement villages offer an apartment or home that you can rent for a week or so to help you decide if that community is a good fit for you.

LGBTQ Retirement Communities

For LGBTQ seniors who want to grow older in a community where they can feel safe, secure and accepted, an LGBTQ retirement community may be the perfect choice.

These communities are specifically designed to provide a supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals who are looking for a comfortable place to call home.

LGBTQ retirement communities typically offer all the benefits of other seniors’ residences such as age-appropriate housing options, amenities such as exercise facilities and community centers, and social activities.

What makes these communities unique is the focus on creating an understanding and inclusive atmosphere where LGBTQ seniors can feel free to be themselves without fear of judgment or discrimination.

There are several LGBTQ senior living communities throughout the USA (not sure about other countries) but it’s worth looking into if you’re interested.

4) Active Adult Rental Communities

Active adult rental communities are designed for seniors who want to enjoy life without the hassle of home ownership. These types of communities are usually age-restricted and offer a variety of activities, amenities, and services tailored to the specific needs of their residents.

Residents can choose from a wide selection of rental options such as apartment-style or townhouse-style homes. Amenities may include clubhouses, fitness centers, swimming pools, golf courses, and more.

Just a mile away from my home is a new community of single family homes being built. When I checked what kind of community it was, I was surprised to find out that it was a rental community for 55 plus!

In other words, it’s an active adult rental community. Honestly, I did not know there was such a thing.

The homes are close to each other, but there is an alleyway between each home. They are labeled as cottages. There are one, two and three bedroom models ranging from 1,129 square feet up to 1,563 square feet. All have a garage and a small backyard space area.

The community offers amenities including a clubhouse, community garden beds, pickleball court, pond with walking path and more.

It’s one of those rare developments where you can rent a home and still enjoy the same benefits of living in an active senior community. You get to make new friends while enjoying the perks of being part of a larger community.


Active adult rental communities provide a variety of benefits to their residents. From unparalleled amenities and activities to convenient locations and maintenance-free living, active adult rental communities offer an enjoyable lifestyle for those looking to make the most out of retirement.

Here are some of the top reasons for choosing an active adult rental community:

  • Maintenance-free living – Say goodbye to tedious yard work, snow shoveling and home repairs – these tasks are all taken care of by the professional onsite staff of an active adult rental community.
  • Socialization – Many active adult rental communities host social events, game nights, clubs and other activities designed to get residents interacting with each other. Socializing with your neighbors and making friends makes for a more enjoyable retirement.
  • Variety of housing options – Whether you’re looking for an apartment, condo or townhome, some active adult rental communities offer plenty of choices when it comes to finding the perfect home for your needs.
  • Amenities – Many active adult rental communities include amenities such as pools, fitness centers, walking trails, and even golf courses. There’s something for every type of retiree!
  • Convenient location – Active adult rental communities are often located in desirable areas with easy access to shopping, dining and entertainment spots. This makes it easy for retirees to get out and explore their new surroundings.
  • Security – Many active adult rental communities are gated with 24 hour security, providing a sense of safety and security for its residents.
  • Affordable living – With rental communities, there’s no need for retirees to take on a large mortgage or hefty homeownership fees. They can enjoy the same amenities of a retirement home without the hefty price tag.


  • Limited freedom – While active adult rental communities provide amenities and conveniences, they also come with restrictions and rules that may limit a resident’s freedom to make changes or additions to their home.
  • Renting can be expensive – Active adult rental communities can be more costly than owning a home, especially if the rent increases over time.
  • Limited privacy – Many active adult rental communities are designed to encourage socialization and community involvement, so residents may have less privacy than they would in their own home.
  • No equity gained – Unlike owning a home, renting does not mean gaining any equity or return on investment over time, making it difficult for renters to plan for their future.
  • Extra fees – Many active adult rental communities charge additional fees for extra services such as pool use, cable television, and other recreational activities.
  • Flexibility – When living in an active adult rental community, renters may not have the flexibility to move when their needs change.
  • Rules and regulations – Renters must adhere to the rules set by the property owner or management company, making it difficult for them to express themselves as they would in a traditional home setting.
  • Maintenance and repairs – Active adult rental communities usually don’t include maintenance or repair services in their lease, leaving renters responsible for any needed upkeep on their own.

5) Tiny Home Retirement Communities (including mobile homes)

Tiny homes seem to have taken over and for many who have accepted the challenge to live full time in a tiny home – there are pros and cons, of course.

But for those who love the concept but are wanting to stay put, at least for a little while – they can put down stakes in a community that caters to tiny homes.

Also note that the idea of tiny homes conjures up the notion that they are on wheels (like recreational vehicles) but these days, there are communities throughout the world that are creating permanent tiny homes to live in.

So, in case you are not fond of traveling (like me) – then these may be ideal for you.

Tiny homes also include the more traditional “mobile homes” which are essentially manufactured mobile homes whereas tiny homes are custom built mobile homes.

Here in the United States there are multiple tiny home villages / communities and more are popping up but here’s a list from the Tiny Home Industry Association to get you started.


Huntsville Tiny House Community: Huntsville, Alabama


Eagle Homes On Olive: Rodgers, Arkansas

Golden RV Park: Fairfield Bay, Arkansas

King’s River Hitchin’ Post RV And Campground: Huntsville, Arkansas


LuxTiny Community: Lakeside, Arizona

Ponderosa RV Resort: Lakeside, Arizona

Tiny Camp: Sedona, Arizona

Voyager RV Park RV Resort And Hotel: Tuscon, Arizona


Delta Bay: Isleton, California

Lemon Cove Tiny Village: Lemon Cove, California

Tiny House Block: Mt Laguna, California


Cheney Creek Tiny Homes: Milner, Colorado

Creekside Homes: Hayden, Colorado

Escalante Tiny Village: La Plate, Colorado

Leadville RV Coral: Leadville, Colorado

Peak View Park: Woodland Park, Colorado

The Hideout Cabins And Campground: Glenwood Springs

Trail And Hitch RV Park And Tiny Home Hotel: Meeker, Colorado

Tiny Homes At River Run: Silt, Colorado

Whispering Aspen Tiny Village: Fairplay, Colorado


Circle Pond Tiny Community: Ruskin, Florida

College Park Village RV and Trailer Park: Orlando, Florida

Cross Creek Village RV Tiny House Community: Leesburg, Florida

Gracious RV and Tiny House Park: Lake Okeechobee, Florida

The Dwellings: Tallahassee, Florida


Eco Cottages At Eastpoint: Eastpoint, Georgia

Little River Escape, Cloudland, Georgia

Sugar Mill Creek At Lake Burton: Clarksville, Georgia

Tiny House Hand Up: Caulhon, Georgia

The Cottages On Vaughan: Clarkston, Georgia

The Shire Village At Mountain Town: Ellijay, Georgia


Bayview Marina Resort: Bayview, Idaho

Empire Mobile Home Park: Moscow, Idaho Call Jerry 208 874-8099

Rambler RV Park: Moscow, Idaho


4 Star Campground: Marseilles, Illinois


SoFair Village: Fairfield, Iowa


Hassel’s RV Park : Near New Orleans: Harvey, Louisiana


Dancing Rabbit Eco Village: Rutledge, Missouri

Cross Timbers Community: Kissee Mills, Missouri

The Hideaway South Kansas City: West Line, Missouri

New Mexico

Animas Valley Village RV Park & Tiny Home Village: Aztec, New Mexico

Caballos De Las Estrellas: Rodeo, New Mexico

North Carolina

Acony Bell Tiny Village: Mills River, North Carolina

Earthhaven Eco Village: Asheville, North Caroiina

Coral Sands Point Recreational Village: Lexington, North Carolina

Bear Pen Cove Tiny Home Village: Franklin, North Carolina

Simple Life Communities: Flat Rock, North Carolina

Wilsons’ Riverfront RV Park: Asheville, North Carolina


Tiny Home Lots: Grove, Oklahoma


Hiatus: Bend, Oregon

Hope Valley Resort: Turner, Oregon

Island Cove RV Park: Sauvie Island, Oregon

Mt. Hood Tiny Village: Welches, Oregon

Sawyers Rapids: Elkton, Oregon

Simple Home Community: Portland, Oregon

The Camp: Bend, Oregon

Tiny Home Tranquility: Waldport, Oregon

Tiny Tranquility: Waldport, Oregon


Tiny Estates:Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

South Carolina

Creek Walk Community: Travelers Rest, South Carolina

Lake Walk Community: Greer, South Carolina

Little Creek RV And Tiny House Resort: Townsville, South Carolina


Incredible Tiny Communities: Newport, Tennessee


Tiny Homes Rescue: For Dwellers And Rescue Cats And Dogs (near Dallas / Fort Worth) – this is a very unique concept – check it out!

Bluebonnet Farms: Lockhart, Texas

Forest Oaks Village: Austin, Texas

Lakeside Park RV And Tiny Home Lots: Salado, Texas

Lake Dallas Tiny Village: Lake, Dallas, Texas

The Pines RV Community: Azle, Texas

Majestic Hills Tiny Community: Willis, Texas

Wildwood Forest: Franklin, Texas

The Hideaway Tiny House Village: Azle Texas

The Oaks of Alba & Yantis: Alba, Texas

Manor Tiny WildLife Resort: Manor, Texas

Matilda’s Store And RV Park: Bowie, Texas

Spur Freedom: Spur, Texas

Village Farm: Austin, Texas


Buckingham County, Virginia: See My Tiny Home On Wheels Is A Legal Dwelling

Washington State

Bowman Hilton Mobile Home Park

Hearthouse Tiny Village: Marlin, Washington

Lost Lake Resort, Olympia, Washington

Skookum Rendezvous Resort: Usk, Washington

Suncrest RV Park: Moses Lake, Washington

Here are some pros and cons to living in a tiny home retirement community.


  • You stay in your own home -you have your own home but you have the opportunity (if it’s mobile) to travel as well.
  • Much easier to maintain – most tiny home owners will tell you that the amount of time it takes to keep their homes clean is extremely minimal (usually less than 1 hour to clean the entire place from top to bottom.
  • Usually costs less – depending on what you are moving from and what type of land you are settling on – costs for tiny home living are on average much, much less than the costs to run and maintain a traditional home.


  • Compost toilets – most tiny homes are equipped with a compost toilet which means there is a certain amount of maintenance that most individuals are not used to. Also, it’s more manual labor than some seniors are able to do.
  • Very little storage – personally, I do believe in decluttering your home almost to the point of minimalism only because I have found that freeing myself from “stuff” has helped me tremendously. But, I do recognize that for many others – this is not an option. There is very little storage in a tiny home so you either would have to get rid of your items that you don’t use frequently OR you would have to pay for a storage unit for these things.
  • Entertaining may be difficult – you certainly won’t be able to hold large parties in these types of homes – even entertaining another couple may prove to be difficult.

6) RV Retirement Communities

Very much like tiny home communities – the RV (Recreational Vehicles) retirement communities would hold the same types of pros and cons.

The difference between these two would be that there are tiny home communities where the homes are not mobile.

Naturally, all RV retirement communities do have mobile homes so your neighbors could come and go.

Generally speaking, I have known some people who are full time RV’ers and they absolutely love the lifestyle.

I don’t think it’s for everyone – but for those who have a gypsy heart and love the idea of living in multiple areas throughout the year – this is a great option!


  • If you love to travel, it’s an excellent way to see the country / world!
  • It can be less expensive than owning and living in a house.
  • You get to meet new people every time you enter a new RV community.


  • Living space will be an issue as will storage and living in a small space with another person.
  • Small spaces with water may have problems with mold and mildew.
  • You will have to maintain the mechanical workings of your vehicle at all times.
  • The price of gas can be difficult to swallow.
  • Winter time and summer time may make it difficult to manage the temperature inside your RV.
  • Driving an RV can be difficult for some and stressful for many.

7) Senior Villages

You may not have heard of senior villages and that’s fine, it’s a fairly new concept.

It’s a wonderful idea to help seniors age in place with support.

Villages share common features, although each is unique. Despite their name, physical structures are not part of villages. Instead, they’re membership organizations created by and for older adults whose purpose is to help people live independently while staying in their own homes. Typically, villages help arrange services for members: a handyman to fix a broken faucet, a drive to and from a doctor’s appointment, someone to clean up the yard or shovel the snow. Volunteers do most of the work.

The Daily News Online

The concept is worked on by the neighbors involved as well as a small staff and volunteers. It’s an interesting model that has grown since it’s inception.

Currently, the Village to Village Network is a nonprofit organization that can help you to organize your own village, to find a village and generally all information about villages.

An example of a village is the Capital City Village in Austin, Tx. You can look through their website to get an idea of how it works.


  • You stay in your own home – the biggest advantage of this concept is that you get to stay in your own home, amongst your neighbors and friends.
  • Help is available – each village member contributes to the “group fund” to help pay for their staff which could include a carpenter, physical therapist, nurse, etc. The group decides what is needed.


  • Cost – there is a monthly fee but it’s normally very nominal.
  • Staying in your own home may not be the safest option – depending on the condition of your home, the amount of money it takes to maintain your home and if modifications are needed to make the home safe – the idea of staying in your home may not be the best solution for you.
  • Home health care services – again, as with the other options listed above. Consideration must be made to the expenses related to in home nursing care or home health aides if they were to be needed.

8) Senior Co-Housing

The senior co-housing option reminds me of the hippie communes from the 1960’s (yes, I remember those!).

A group of people share a common kitchen area and recreational areas yet they have their own “home”.

It’s a great way to remain social in your own community and to help each other as needed.


  • Plenty of social opportunities – co-housing communities are generally chosen by their residents because they ARE so socially active. You create and share meals together. Recreational activities are normally done together.
  • Built in help is available – having others around you can be a big help to you emotionally and physically. Elderly women living alone can benefit from having other women and/or men to help them with home repair or maintenance and other tasks that may be difficult for them.
  • Everyone contributes their skills – it may be that you can no longer drive – well someone in the group may still be driving and that is a big help. Every person in the co-housing group contributes their skills as best they can to the group.
  • Shared expenses – some co-housing communities share the expenses to run and maintain the home and the lifestyle.


  • Not everyone gets along – let’s face it, not everyone gets along with everyone. So, there may be others in the co-housing group that you simply cannot stand to be with (and vice versa). If possible – spend a week or two at a co-housing location before you move into one.
  • You become part of a team – if you have lived on your own for many years, suddenly having to commune with others daily may be very difficult. If you are a lone wolf personality, a senior co-housing situation would not work well for you.
  • In home care services – aging in place in a home of any kind that is not equipped to manage health related issues requires it’s residents to consider the expenses that would be related to obtaining these services vs. the cost of a care facility.

9) Home Sharing

This is nothing new really, people have been sharing their homes with others probably since the very beginning.

Home sharing is when two or more people live together in a single dwelling.

This arrangement can be beneficial for a number of reasons, such as reducing the cost of housing, providing companionship, and allowing people to pool their resources.

Home sharing can also offer opportunities for caregiving and other forms of support.

If you know others whom you would like to share a home with, great! Otherwise, you can try going through the process of advertising a room for rent, etc.

Or, a better and perhaps safer route these days would be to use a company like Silvernest to find a roommate for you.

10) Residential Care Homes

Residential care homes remind me somewhat of boarding houses.

They are usually larger homes with a few bedrooms (could be any number but normally less than 10).

There’s a small staff, common kitchen, dining and living areas.

These are usually private homes (or at least once were) that have been converted to care for seniors.


  • Friendlier and Personalized – Because it’s a small staff, it’s much more personalized and can be friendlier than a larger assisted living facility.
  • Meals and housekeeping – Meals and housekeeping services are generally provided.


  • Shared bathrooms – Not all residential care homes have private bathrooms so there may be some sharing involved.
  • Not all are alike – Some residential care homes will provide assistance for bathing, dressing, etc. Others will not and the resident will have to pay for their own private aide.
  • No medical staff – Most residential care homes do not staff a physician or nurse so there is no direct medical supervision. Again, consideration should be made to the possible expenses of a home health care aide or if nursing care were needed.
  • Private pay – These types of living situations generally do not accept medicare or medicaid – they are mostly paid privately by the residents and/or their families.

11) Independent Living Facilities / Communities

These types of residences are not for those who require constant medical attention or have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Independent living facilities usually provide two to three meals a day in a common dining area, scheduled transportation, access to social and recreational activities, and housekeeping services.

Most importantly, these buildings promote an active lifestyle and provide a sense of community for their residents.

If you or your loved one is considering an independent living facility, it’s important to tour several residences and ask lots of questions.

Be sure to find out about the staff’s qualifications, the cost of rent and services, and what type of activities are offered.

Independent living can be a great option for seniors who want to maintain their independence and live in a supportive community.

With the help of an independent living facility, seniors can age in place and enjoy all the benefits that come with it.


  • The cost of an independent living facility can be slightly less than that of an assisted living.
  • It’s a great way to live in an apartment setting that has built in housekeeping and in-house services such as meals, activities and entertainment.
  • Families are encouraged to be a part of the community.


  • There are no medical services provided.
  • If the senior resident declines in their ability to care for themselves, they will then have to move on to another type of facility. (Unless the independent living is associated with a Continuing Care Community.

12) Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities normally provide two meals a day and the apartments come with a small kitchen which gives the resident the ability to have some groceries to snack on or make a small meal for themselves.

Here’s how to talk to your parents about moving into assisted living.

But, like any living situation, there are pros and cons and here’s my list of what they are for assisted living housing.


  • Still live independently – it’s nice to have your very own apartment even though you may need a little help every day. Assisted living gives you that.
  • In house meals – most (if not all) assisted living facilities provide 2 meals a day in the dining room and some will even bring the meal to your room. Depending on the accommodations, it can be a very nice experience to go to the dining room and sit with others to enjoy a meal prepared for you.
  • In house activities – again, most (if not all) assisted living have a recreational therapist who provides a series of activities in house and some even provide outside events such as concerts and theater.
  • You can still drive – some assisted living allow you to keep your car in the parking lot. So if you are still capable of being safe while driving and want to keep your car, then you can certainly do that.


  • Cost prohibitive – the very first con that I must mention is the cost. This does vary depending on where you live but generally, the cost averages about $4000.00 per month. You can get an idea of the cost in your area using the calculator at
  • Living under policies and rules – very much like an HOA in the 55+ communities, there will be rules and policies that you will have to live under and for some seniors, that can be difficult.
  • Will be living within close proximity of others – I have known a few elderly (my mother for one!) who was very much a “loner” and really did not want to engage with other humans, at all. For her, living in an assisted living (which we wanted her to do) was akin to going to prison (yes, she said that). So, if you or your senior loved one is the type of person that does not want to live amongst other humans, this type of living arrangement may become very difficult for them.
  • Pets may be a problem – not all assisted living facilities allow pets so if you own a pet, choosing the right facility that will allow you to keep it or them is very important. Here is a short list of some facilities that do accept pets.

13) Continuing Care Communities (CCRCs)

Continuing care communities are generally expensive but if you can afford them, it’s an easy living situation to retire into as you grow older.

Reason being that they provide multiple levels of care for their residents.

The idea is that you purchase a membership into a community. If you are capable of living on your own, you can then live in an apartment or villa within the community.

If your health declines (physically or cognitively) you can then progress into an apartment in an assisted living facility (still, within the same community).

If your health declines even further, you can then move on to the nursing home building that is also within the same community.

It’s a great option for seniors who want to live independently as long as possible and remain within the same community for the remainder of their lives.


  • All inclusive – very much like all inclusive resorts – everything is here for you and you never have to leave the community, no matter how your health progresses. You simply are moved from one type of housing to another as and if needed, again, without every leaving the community.
  • Couples stay close together – if one spouse ends up needing nursing home care while the other spouse is able to live in an assisted living facility, going to visit is extremely easy since you are both in the same community.
  • No kids – because the age group in CCRCs are mostly seniors (with the exception of the staff) you will be living with many others in your age group. This can be a pro or a con, depending on you.


  • Expensive – Entrance fees to a CCRC range from about $107,000 to $427,000. ( The cost depends on the type of contract that you purchase, additional services, amenities, etc.
  • Adjusting to new living quarters – if your health declines in such a way that you have to move from an independent living to an assisted and then on to a nursing home – then you end up moving several times. This can be difficult for some.
  • All your eggs in one basket – moving into a CCRC means you are essentially putting all your eggs in one basket. Like any organization, management and ownership can change, companies go out of business, etc. You could potentially lose your investment if the company goes bankrupt.
  • Pets may be a problem – not all assisted living facilities allow pets so if you own a pet, choosing the right facility that will allow you to keep it or them is very important.

14) Memory Care Units

The perfect solution for people with progressive dementia such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease who require round-the-clock supervision is a memory care unit.

Memory Loss units are locked, which helps to prevent someone from wandering off while they’re still cognitively able enough that it would be dangerous if not impossible otherwise!

Memory care units often have special features and amenities that cater to the needs of those with memory loss, such as secure outdoor spaces, social and recreational activities, and meal plans that are easy to follow.

While the cost of living in a memory care unit can be higher than other types of senior housing, many families find that the extra support and security is worth the investment.

If you’re considering a memory care unit for your loved one, be sure to visit several options and ask lots of questions to find the best fit.


  • Professional staff – The staff is trained to deal with memory care patients
  • High level of care – There is a high staff to patient ratio
  • Individualized care – Patients receive individualized care
  • Safety – The environment is designed to be safe and secure
  • Specialized activities – There are activities and programs specifically geared towards memory care patients


  • Cost – The cost of living in a memory care unit can be expensive
  • Isolation – Patients may feel isolated from the outside world
  • Restrictive – The environment can be restrictive and boring
  • No privacy – There is a lack of privacy

15) Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are what most of us are familiar with when we think of senior residential living – but the truth is that only a small percentage of elderly in the USA actually reside in nursing facilities.

Only 4.5 percent (about 1.5 million) of older adults live in nursing homes and 2 percent (1 million) in assisted living facilities.

Below is a list of the pros and cons of residing in a nursing home setting.


  • Full time care available – there is always a nurse available, nursing assistants and doctors are always on call. Your medications are managed for you, care is provided for you that includes bathing, dressing, toileting, feeding, etc.
  • Structured schedules – most nursing homes have a set structure of what happens when and where. There are physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapists available for when you need them. Activities are scheduled as are meals and dispensing of medications.
  • Social interaction – most (if not all) nursing homes have scheduled social activities Games, movies, entertainment, etc. You would be included in a group setting with your fellow residents.


  • Expensive – nursing homes can be expensive, depending on the home itself. On average, the monthly cost of a nursing home room in the USA is $8,121 for a private room and about $7,148 for a semi-private room. (
  • Poor care – I have worked in some nursing homes where the care was horrible so I know first hand that not all nursing homes provide a good level of care for their residents. (But I have worked in more nursing homes that were wonderful so although I hope that it is a minority of homes that are poorly run – please be aware that not all are equal).
  • No freedom for residents – nursing homes are responsible for your well being. As a result, they will monitor where you are at all times, have scheduled activities for you, meals, bathing, dressing, etc. are all set up on the schedule of the nursing home, not your schedule. So, if you are accustomed to getting up every day at 10:00 am – this may not work well in a nursing home setting.
  • Frailty of others – it may be very difficult for some residents to live amongst others who are extremely physically frail. Walking down a hallway where several residents are moaning or sitting slouched over in their wheelchairs can be very depressing to some.
  • Odor – some nursing homes have a distinct odor or urine and/or a very strong bleach smell to try to cover up that urine smell. These are usually very poorly run facilities but they may also be the cheaper ones as well.
  • Pets may be a problem – not all assisted living facilities allow pets so if you own a pet, choosing the right facility that will allow you to keep it or them is very important.

Nursing homes have changed in the last few decades and some are certainly better than others – but the point here is that there are multiple options available for seniors today when it comes to where they can live happily and safely.

Related Reading

How To Know When An Elderly Person Can’t Live Alone

Moving An Elderly Parent With Dementia Out Of Their Home

Support Systems For The Elderly

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