Choosing the Right Housing for Independent Senior Life

Choosing the Right Housing for Independent Senior Life

time icon 5 min read update icon Sept. 16, 2019


When a senior makes the decision to transition into an independent senior community, a great deal of care should be taken to ensure that the right location is chosen. Choosing a senior independent housing community may be a stressful process, however, there are a variety of resources available to help seniors choose a community that fits their every need. 


Senior independent housing is frequently referred to as retirement homes, retirement communities, senior housing and senior apartments. Seniors in the market for independent housing may quickly find that there are a variety of independent housing options to choose from.  Seniors may choose independent living for reasons of socialization and convenience, or for many other individual reasons. 

Some communities have amenities such as community clubhouses, where seniors can congregate and socialize during their free time. Seniors in these communities are as independent as possible in regards to personal care. Many facilities offer services such as meal delivery, grounds keeping, fitness facilities and household maintenance. Oftentimes, independent living communities can allow seniors to live a more enriching life. 

Independent Living Options to Consider

1. Low maintenance

Seniors looking for a low-maintenance lifestyle may find solace in independent living. While in independent living, seniors will no longer need to worry about home ownership hassles and maintenance. Some independent living services may include housekeeping, transportation to shopping and community events, and even meal delivery options or prepared meals, often in a restaurant-like setting. 

It should be noted that seniors may choose to live in independent housing even if they are unable to live independently. Although most independent living facilities do not offer personal medical assistance or medical care, in-home help may be hired separately. Independent housing enables seniors to be surrounded by peers, creating an atmosphere that feels like family. 

2. Accommodating

Housing for independent senior life is usually comprised of two main features: easy accessibility and a sense of community. Independent housing should be designed with the needs of seniors in mind. Physical and everyday needs should be easily accommodated. For example, many independent housing communities have very few to no stairs. 

Entries should be handicap-accessible for wheelchairs and assisting walking devices. Additionally, handrails should be installed throughout. More than likely, seniors in independent housing are downsizing from a larger home that was ideal for raising a family, but is more home than they currently need. 

3. Free of loud noise and activity

In general, the only residents authorized to live in senior independent housing are seniors who are at least 55 years old. As a result, grandchildren and children cannot live in there A child-free environment ensures that the senior community is free of lots of activity, loud noise and school traffic. Seniors who may be responsible for small children may want to take into consideration that many independent housing communities have a strict age policy, and offer no exceptions to their rules.

4. Often affordable

Income guidelines for independent senior housing are usually determined and regulated by state and federal agencies. Independent living communities generally have a monthly rate between $1,000 and $6,000, depending on location. If additional hospitality and care services are opted for, there may be added fees. 

Overall, independent senior housing often costs less than homeownership. As homeowners, seniors are often burdened with mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, property improvements and maintenance costs. In addition to those expenses, seniors who live in their own homes are also responsible for utilities, groceries, cleaning services and landscaping. 

5. Many amenities, activities, and services

Seniors who enjoy socializing should choose independent housing that has recreational centers or clubhouses available on site. Recreational centers and clubhouses provide a location for seniors to meet and connect with peers, as well as participate in community activities such as arts and crafts, educational classes and game nights. Seniors who are physically active may be interested in facilities that offer amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness centers, or a golf course. 

Select facilities also offer other services such as onsite beauty and barber salons and spas. Some communities may even have congregated meals on site in a central dining area. Seniors should be sure to thoroughly compare facilities to choose the one that is the best fit. Communities have terms and services that vary from one to another. Some facilities may also employ service coordinators who will assist residents to access other community-based services. 


Senior independent housing options can vary widely, and sometimes the choices can be overwhelming. Onsite and online resources are available to help assist in choosing the best-suited community. Many such properties have coordinators in place to help seniors and loved ones choose the best option for their specific needs. 

When choosing a facility, all services and communities should be considered, including social activities, transportation, dining, and housekeeping. It’s important to consider the type of assistance and/or medical care that is needed now, in addition to what health care or assistance might be needed in the future.

T. Mashae Pearson - Senior Advisor

Shae is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.