Alternative Senior Housing Offers Safety and Companionship

Caregiver helping seniors at nursing home, age in place, military, coupleMost seniors want to age-in-place for as long as possible.  Many have lived in their own home for the majority of their adult lives.  However, when staying in your home is no longer a choice, consider alternative housing.  Alternative housing for seniors includes living with a relative, Co-Sharing, Assisted Living, a nursing home, and retirement and age-restricted communities.  Read on to learn about alternative senior housing.

Living with a relative

Living with a relative has pros and cons.  Sharing living space with a relative has challenges.  This is especially true if you have lived independently throughout your adult life.  However, living with a relative has many advantages for seniors including shared expenses, socialization, and safety and security.

Communication and setting boundaries are important for healthy relationships while living with relatives.  Consider developing a communication plan before moving in with a relative.  For example, plan how common spaces will be shared like the kitchen and bathroom.  If you plan to buy a new home with your family, consider related living homes.  Related living homes are designed with special features including separate entrances and finished living spaces on other floors.


Co-sharing a home involves two or more unrelated people living together.  There are two ways to find others interested in co-sharing a home.  One way is to advertise or ask friends to recommend a roommate.  You can also check into a roommate referral service.  Of course, you’ll want to thoroughly check out any unknown roommates through a background check and references.  Another source you can use to find co-shared housing is the National Shared Housing Association.  While there are no co-shared housing opportunities in Indiana, there are some listed in Illinois.

Assisted Living

Assisted Living facilities are an alternative senior housing option that offers support services.  These Senior women at assisted living, senior friends, age in place, facilities are typically studio apartments but can also be single family homes.  Many nursing homes have an Assisted Living section.  Seniors in Assisted Living facilities are fairly independent, typically have a chronic illness, and may need minor help with medication and activities of daily living.  Assisted Living facilities are designed to keep seniors independent and active for as long as possible.  This alternative senior housing offers companionship, safety, and security.  The costs vary and Medicare does not cover an Assisted Living facility.  Medicaid and some insurance plans may cover Assisted Living.

Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes provide 24 hour medical and nursing care.  While not on site, a doctor oversees the medical care of the nursing home residents.  Nurses continuously monitor residents.  Other healthcare Caregiver feeding female senior at nursing home, caregiver, nursing home, seniorworkers assist with activities of daily living such as feeding, bathing, or dressing.  Other services provided in nursing homes include physical and occupational therapy.  Medicare covers the cost of a nursing home for the first 100 days.  Medicaid and some insurance plans also cover the cost of a nursing home.  Nursing homes are regulated by state and federal programs.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) involves multiple resident types that house aging adults.  The types of residents within a CCRC include independent and assisted living, memory care, and a skilled nursing home.  The concept of the CCRC is for the adult to age-in-place within the same residential community.  There are typically contracts and ongoing fees involved in a CCRC as well as a deposit.  Deposit refunds are determined by the CCRC association.  Most homes in the CCRC are rental units rather than ownership.

Retirement and Age Restricted or 55+ Housing

Retirement and Age Restricted or 55+ housing have strict homeowner’s association covenants.  The covenant may include visitation or temporary residence for anyone younger than 55 with prior approval.  There are usually common areas for socialization and meals in the 55+ housing.  Typically 55+ housing are rental units rather than home ownership.  Many units or homes are designed for older adults with walk-in showers, wider thresholds for walkers or wheelchairs, and extra lighting.  Optional paid services may include house cleaning, laundry, and entertainment.  Residents of age restricted or 55+ housing are independent.


Whether your home no longer serves your needs or you decide to move, there are many reasons to turn to alternative senior housing.  Safety, security, and companionship are a few reasons seniors turn to alternative housing.  The goal of most alternative housing is to keep seniors independent as long as possible.

For more tips on real estate, aging-in-place, and not outliving your money, request a copy of our free book, The Northwest Indiana Guide for Seniors.