Housing Options for older Adults

For most of us there comes a time when staying at home, particularly by ourselves, may no longer be the safe option.

Be sure to check out our FAQ page and scroll down to the section titled “Housing, Home Resources” for more information on this topic. Here you will find answers to such questions as:

    • What are the different types of housing for older adults, like nursing home, assisted living, and others?
    • What is assisted living?
    • What is aging in place?
    • What are the differences between assisted living, nursing home care, memory care, and skilled nursing facilities?
    • What programs are available for homeless peoples?
    • Where can I get assistance with home repair or modifications? 
    • Where can I get help with Housekeeping?: 

What you will learn

  • Options for older adults
  • An overview of various housing choices
  • Internet references for additional information and research.

Topic Quick Links – Click on a topic below to go to that area of the page.

Modifications and Services that Allow Independent Living

There are many modifications that can be made in the residence to make it safer – removing trip and fall hazards, adding grab bars, adding a ramp, widening doorways to accommodate a walker to wheelchair, making sure there is adequate lighting. A home safety checklist can be very helpful – you can find an example here.

There are also more and more providers of home services for the elderly. Unfortunately most of these can be fairly expensive since you normally are paying by the hour or the day. And the level of skill required can also affect price. Having someone come in to clean and cook is different from having someone come in to help with activities of daily living such a bathing, dressing, eating, getting in and out of bed and toileting. Here is a non-profit resource for evaluating services: https://helpguide.org/elder/senior_services_living_home.htm

Adult day care services and respite care services also can help the elderly remain in a home setting by providing a safe way for the caregiver to take a break and attend to other family and person business.

Another approach to remaining independent is moving to an independent living community, which offers private apartments or cottages in a more secure setting usually with many options for socialization. These properties may provide housekeeping, laundry, meal service and transportation services.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

A CCRC is a retirement community that offers multiple levels of care (independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing) on one campus. This can be a good choice for a couple where one person needs more help than the other, but it also can be an expensive choice. Some CCRCs will guarantee placement for the remainder of a person’s life even if the person runs out of money.

With a CCRC it is important to fully understand the terms of the contract you are signing, what is covered and what services are at additional cost. Several evaluation tools are available online including a Guide sheet for Evaluating Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Questions to Consider When Evaluating Continuing Care Contracts.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities are licensed facilities that provide supportive services while allowing seniors to maintain their independence. Assisted living facilities may vary in the level of care they provide. Type A facilities will accept residents who are able to evacuate the building unassisted in case of emergency. Type B facilities accept residents with more complex medical problems and may include services such as transfer assistance and incontinent care.

Special care facilities are also available for people with varying stages of dementia. These are generally locked units with assistance and activity programming designed for people with dementia. AARP offers an online Assisted Living Facility Evaluation Checklist that you can download and print. You can fill out one for each facility you visit then use that information to help make a decision.

Skilled Care Facilities

Skilled care facilities are licensed facilities that provide therapy services, nursing care and custodial care. Residents may be in a skilled care facility for respite, rehabilitation or long-term care. Skilled care facilities also often have special units for persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.

Ombudsmen

Texas Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Long-term care (LTC) ombudsmen are advocates for resident rights of anybody who lives in a nursing home or an assisted living facility.  Ombudsmen help protect the quality of life and quality of care. If you have concerns about the care of a nursing home or assisted living resident, talk to the LTC ombudsman in your area. Contact the local area agency on aging or call 211.

Find an Ombudsman anywhere in the US.

More Resources

  • SeniorCare.com/assisted-living Strives to serve as the informational resource for assisted living in the United States. Listing information on over 36,300 state-licensed assisted living facilities, explaining the rules and regulations of each state.
  • The Medicare website offers a Nursing Home Compare feature that allows you to search for nursing homes in your area and compare quality information before choosing which facilities to visit in person.
  • http://www.211.org/ – 2-1-1 is the national abbreviated dialing code for free access to health and human services information and referral (I&R). 2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember and universally recognizable number that makes a critical connection between individuals and families in need and the appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies. 2-1-1 makes it possible for people in need to navigate the complex and ever-growing maze of human services’ agencies and programs. By making services easier to access, 2-1-1 encourages prevention and fosters self-sufficiency.
  • http://www.nadsa.org/ – The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) is the only organization that provides a focal point for adult day services at the national level.
  • www.ncoa.org/ – National Council for the Aging’s National Institute of Adult Day Care Centers
  • www.leadingagetexas.org – LeadingAge Texas is a trade association representing the full continuum of mission-driven, not-for-profit aging services providers in Texas by rendering up-to-date information, advocacy, education, representation, group services, and networking to aging services professionals to fulfill our promise: Inspire. Serve. Advocate. LeadingAge Texas was established in 1959 as a Texas not-for-profit corporation. Its purpose is to provide leadership, advocacy, and education for not-for-profit retirement housing and nursing home communities that serve the needs of aging Texans.
  • www.tnpha.org – Texas Non-Profit Hospice Alliance is an organization of independently owned hospices dedicated to providing quality end-of-life hospice care.

References: 
Written by:  Zanda Hilger, M. Ed., LPC, Family Caregiver Education, contractor to Dallas Area Agency on Aging and North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging, Revised 2021.

Permission is granted to duplicate any and all parts of this program to use in education programs supporting family members caring for elders.