Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Independent Senior Housing

May 7th 2016

Choosing the right independent senior housing is one of the most important decisions a retired person has to make. A safe, comfortable and affordable place to live is one of the comforts of a senior's life, and investing the time necessary to find just the right place saves time, effort and, potentially, a great deal of heartache later on. This is why it is important to bring along a checklist when investigating senior housing, to make sure a prospective residence measures up to the prospective resident's needs.

Price Is Paramount

Complexes offering senior housing often find themselves marketing to tenants who bring the security of a stable, fixed income from Social Security and a pension. Because of this fixed income, these tenants may lack the ability to pay market rates for rent. Social Security does not guarantee enough monthly income to maintain a decent standard of living, after all, so the price of a residence becomes all-important for many seniors. Because it generally isn't possible for a retired resident to make up shortfalls in the rent by working extra hours, seniors need to settle the price of the apartment or house up front and be absolutely sure it does not exceed 25 percent of each month's budget.

Location Counts

Once a range of affordable housing options has been established, the next consideration is location. Relocating seniors must consider whether they wish to remain in the city where they have lived and worked, or whether it would be better to relocate to another town or state. It is also useful to think about whether the senior has an active life outside the home. Living long distances away from the places where the senior shops for groceries, volunteers her time or receives medical treatment can impose considerable difficulty if she no longer drives and has trouble with public transportation.

Community Concerns

Another factor to consider in making the final decision to move is the nature of the established community at the new facility or complex. The ability to integrate seamlessly into a new setting is crucial to the long-term comfort of a newly arrived senior, and friction with neighbors or facility management can make for a brief, unhappy stay. Some senior communities are very casually organized, with residents left to work out their own social interactions, while others go out of their way to encourage seniors to enjoy each other's company at picnics, pool parties and even singles mixers.

Moving into a new home is stressful and fraught with uncertainty at the best of times. It can be especially daunting for people over 65, and those who have recently retired, been widowed or gone through another major life disruption. Taking care to find an affordable home, within range of the important places in the senior's life, and which have a thriving community spirit, makes the transition far less stressful and far more likely to be successful over the long term.

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