facebook twitter youtube google plus linkedin

Understanding Different Housing Options As You Age

Understanding Different Housing Options As You Age

By Yvonne M. Feltman 

As the baby boomer generation began turning 65 nearly a decade ago, undoubtedly the housing market began to give more consideration to the unique needs of this growing demographic.

According to an American Housing Survey conducted in 2011, it is projected that there will be an increase in demand for housing in 55+ communities going forward, as the share of households age 55+ is expected to grow annually and to account for nearly 45% of all U.S. households within the next couple of years. 

For those in their golden years, there are a variety of options these days to choose from, no matter if an active lifestyle is enjoyed, or a lifestyle requiring more personal care and assistance: 

Assisted Living Communities 

Residences offering assistance and hospitality services to those who require help with daily activities but who are still able to live independently fall into the category of assisted living facilities.

These facilities most frequently include private communities. Living arrangements can include furnished or unfurnished rooms, private or shared studios or one-bedrooms and sometimes dormitory-style bedrooms.  

Also known as boarding, assisted living is the next step for individuals who need slightly more support than living completely independently.

Meals, dressing, bathing and medication assistance are a few of the care activities that assisted living offers. These communities promote independence while offering a helping hand and life-enriching services. While assisted living is similar to an independent living community, there are differences as shared in this article from SeniorAdvice.com 

The national average cost per month for a private one-bedroom in an assisted living facility was $3,750 according to a June 2017 survey conducted by CareScout. 

Nursing Home Facilities

Nursing home facilities, also referred to as long-term or convalescent care facilities, provide extended care, meals, and medical assistance to those who cannot live independently or perform daily living activities like bathing due to disabling medical issues, or other physical or mental conditions that require continuous supervision. In addition, a nursing home offers residents social, recreational and spiritual activities.  

Nursing homes tend to provide more frequent and comprehensive personal care services than what is found in assisted living facilities, including memory care, skilled nurses and often have a skilled nursing unit within the facility. According to the CareScout survey mentioned above, in June 2017 the national average cost per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home was $7,148. 

Independent Living

Independent living units are intended for those who wish to remain independent while living in a private space such as a studio, apartment or home. These residences are also known as retirement communities.

They are designed for those who may pay for some congregate services such as meals or housekeeping as part of the monthly fee or rental rate, and who require little, if any, assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing.

Residents of independent living units may have some home health care-type services provided to them by staff or an outside agency. Typically there is staff onsite as well as building security. 

Independent Living vs. CCRCs

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) offer a combination of independent living apartments, assisted living units and skilled nursing care rooms all available on one campus.

Unlike an independent living community which typically offers no daily living assistance services or skilled nursing, CCRC residents can transition to other areas within the community that will serve their increasing care needs.

The demand for CCRCs continues to increase as the number of people reaching retirement age rises. Providing gourmet meals, social and leisure activities, housekeeping, wellness and fitness programs, CCRCs are an attractive all-inclusive housing option for baby boomers.

Independent living costs significantly less than a CCRC, a nursing home, or even assisted living. The monthly fees for independent living vary mainly due to size and location, with the average cost ranging from $1,500 to $3,500 per month. 


While cohousing continues to increase in numbers in the United States in the past decade, today there are just over a dozen communities who cater to the baby boomer generation.

Cohousing generally consists of 10-40 private residences located in close vicinity to one another near a common building or area where residents can gather to share meals, or other leisure or fun activities intended to build a sense of community.

Income is not shared, but everyone has access to shared items such as yard maintenance supplies, gardens, laundry facilities or spaces for entertaining. These communities are not intended to provide daily hands-on assistance to residents; they are better suited for independent and active couples or singles. 

Whether buying or renting, the costs for cohousing depend on the size and area. There are monthly dues similar to those of a Homeowner’s Association and can range from $100 to $350.  

There are many different living arrangements and options available as you age and probably even more that we have yet to even see yet. The first step is to understand your own living and support needs and then select the option that best matches these requirements.

Yvonne M. Feltman has written stories, manuals, newsletters, website content, blogs and everything in between. She studied English and Psychology while earning a Bachelor’s degree at the University of New Mexico. In college she worked at an in-home senior care company which gave her a true compassion for seniors and the challenges they face. Dealing with Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s in her own family has given Yvonne a deeper understanding of the health issues many face later in life.

Other Related Posts;