Senior Apartments: A House without the Upkeep

Senior apartments are a type of retirement community that is designed for 55+ adults in good health who want to live independently near other seniors. Joining a senior apartment community often requires at least one member of the household be at least 55. Senior apartments come at all price points, from luxury to market rate to affordable housing, and appeal to all sorts of lifestyles.

Why Rent an Apartment When I Already Own a House?

Unless you have rented an apartment for the entire time since you’ve moved out of your parents’ house, why would you sell your house to rent an apartment? One advantage for selling your apartment is freeing up equity for travel, investment or even long-term care. Another advantage of an apartment lifestyle is that the hassle of home maintenance and yard work is handled by community staff.

Many senior apartment complexes are located in urban centers, with stores, restaurants, transit and healthcare services located within walking distance; this is one perk that you won’t find living in a strictly residential neighborhood. Most important, the senior in senior apartments means that you can expect communities to consider and cater to the needs of older adults.

Because senior apartments are not regulated by state or federal agencies, rules are established by the management company that runs the community, and managers may live on or off site. The monthly rent usually includes all utilities, except for electricity, cable and Internet. There may be additional monthly fees for parking or having a pet.

Amenities and Services Available Within a Senior Apartment Community

Unlike other types of retirement communities, such as continuing care communities or independent living communities, dining service, transportation, laundry or housekeeping services are not available at most senior apartment communities. The community lifestyle is designed to mimic life in a free-standing home with the benefit of living in a community setting. Most senior apartment complexes offer security from the street through a gated or keyed entry, security guard and amply lit parking and sidewalk areas, and at individual units via an intercom or front desk.

Amenities and services range widely, so personal lifestyle and interests are important considerations when joining a community. Do you want pool, spa, exercise equipment, common dining room, clubhouse, library or media room? Is there an activity program that encourages socializing amongst residents? Bear in mind these additional amenities will likely affect the monthly rent, and you should also expect the rent to increase each year due to increases in property taxes, utilities and maintaining the complex.

Additional amenities to consider include:

  • On-site or in-unit laundry facilities
  • Pet and child friendly
  • Elevators and stairs
  • Non-slip floors and grab bars in bathrooms
  • Accessible light switches and electrical outlets
  • Additional storage
  • Garage or covered parking
  • Satellite or cable TV
  • Internet connection

Though you are likely not considering your long-term care needs when moving into a senior apartment, you should plan for the future and confirm whether you can bring in a home health agency to provide supportive services when needed. This planning will reduce the likelihood of you needing to move if and when you do require assistance to remain independent.