3 alternatives to retirement homes

Many seniors face a tough choice when they can no longer manage the family home. However, there are many viable and affordable alternatives to retirement homes which still promote independent living.

3 alternatives to retirement homes

1. Condominiums and senior apartment communities

A condominium enables a retiree to own his or her home and have equity, but greatly reduces the time and cost spent performing maintenance chores such as mowing lawns, shoveling snow and painting exteriors. Condominiums are smaller than many family homes, which benefits seniors who have difficulty navigating stairways. Some condominium associations offer special rates and services for seniors, making them particularly senior-friendly.

Renting is also a great option, especially in an apartment community that only accepts residents over the age of 55. Maintenance tasks are virtually eliminated, and apartment communities will often pay for utilities, making it much more affordable for seniors with fixed incomes. The cost of buying a condominium or renting an apartment can be offset by the sale of a family home that is no longer needed.

2. Niche retirement communities

Some neighbourhoods and condominium associations exist specifically to provide housing options for seniors with niche backgrounds, such as former military experience, union membership or particular religious affiliations. Most homes in these communities are occupied by other seniors, which may boost property values since seniors tend to maintain their homes better than younger people. This type of community tends to consist of smaller houses, a gated entrance and security vehicles patrolling the streets; this keeps criminal activity and trespassing at a minimum while also assisting seniors when they need emergency help.

3. Shared housing options

Some seniors on fixed incomes find it best to live in houses shared with other seniors. They have their own rooms, and occasionally bathrooms, but share common areas such as kitchens, entryways and hallways. This reduces the cost of utilities since bills are split between all residents, which is a boon to those living on fixed incomes as it extends available finances. The company of other seniors, especially when they have shared interests and experiences, can also be a bonus.

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