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Housing Options

When elderly people can no longer stay in their homes, there are several different housing options available to them, depending on the level of support needed and most often, financial resources. The Healthy Aging Program at Atlantic Health System connects seniors with resources that can provide detailed information about facilities, their costs and their services. The different types of senior housing include:

Women discuss senior housing options
Affordable or subsidized housing
– usually consists of rental apartments offered to seniors or the disabled who meet income guidelines and limits; does not offer any external medical services, however, some sites may offer group meals or housekeeping services for an additional fee.
Assisted living facilities
– offer a blend of housing, personal care assistance and socialization opportunities all in one location. They have staff available 24 hours a day and provide a range of personal care services, such as assistance with medication, bathing, grooming, dressing and other daily activities. Some have specialized dementia-care units that offer additional services for those with cognitive impairments. Some offer private or shared apartments, along with three meals per day and social activities. Most facilities require 18-24 months’ worth of private payment before accepting Medicaid, if they choose to accept Medicaid as payment. There is usually a fee for personal care services.
Continuing care retirement communities
– provide independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing services all in one location or campus. They are required to provide a continuum of care to meet the needs of the residents as they age. There is generally an entrance fee that guarantees housing and services at the community, as well as monthly service fees depending on additional services selected, such as housekeeping, meals or home health care services.
Retirement communities
– these communities are specifically designed for active, independent older people. The average age requirement is 55 years or older. Types of available housing include houses, condominiums or apartments. Adult retirement communities typically provide social and recreational activities with no or very limited personal care services available.
Skilled nursing facilities or long-term care facilities
– provide 24-hour medical care under the supervision of licensed nurses. Medical services include physical and occupational therapy, wound care, management of chronic conditions, and rehabilitation. Medical care for those with severe cognitive impairments, assistance with staying safe and managing illnesses, recreational activities, spiritual and social services, and personal care services are also typically offered.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Facility: 

Physical and medical needs

Consider the level of assistance needed now and possibly in the future.  Consider potential need for more assistance due to worsening medical conditions or cognitive impairment.  

Social and safety needs

Consider the social network available, such as family, friends or neighbors, and how much assistance they can realistically provide. Is this adequate support to ensure the individual’s safety and well-being in less supervised settings?

Financial resources

Consider assets available to pay for care and what payment sources the facility accepts. If Medicaid is needed in the future, is this an accepted payment source at the facility? 

The Healthy Aging Program at Atlantic Health System suggests the following helpful resources to help seniors find information on housing options: