Senior apartments are the most popular type of senior-specific housing. Their common benefits are dining hallssocial calendars and transportation. Some properties have additional shared amenities such as courtyards, swimming pools and optional housekeeping services. Get an overview of these questions and answers…

1. How do people pay for a senior apartment complex?
Our Independent Living page explains apartment payment options for different situations:

  • Private payment solutions
  • Section 8 housing vouchers
  • Section 202 federal housing (Supportive Housing for the Elderly)

2. How old are the residents?
Age restrictions for senior apartments vary.

  • On the private market, senior apartments tend to be strictly limited to residents 55+ or 62+.
  • With Section 202 senior apartments a minority of tenants may be non-seniors. This lets seniors live with younger relatives, plus it permits younger tenants to rent their own units.

3. What pets are allowed?
Pet policies are varied. When apartments are advertised as pet-friendly, generally they’re including indoor cats and small or medium-sized canine companions.

  • With persistence you can find senior apartments that accept big dogs. Each dog might need to pass an “interview.”
  • Most apartment complexes prohibit large fish tanks because these involve a water damage risk.

4. How healthy are the residents?
Most adults in senior apartments are fit to live independently. If in-home support is needed, it’s arranged separately.

Retirement Communities

Retirement community housing choices range from small condo units to freestanding single-family homes. Sometimes retirement community housing can be rented, but typically the residents are owners. Owners pay fees to support a clubhouse, transportation service, landscaping and other amenities. Long-term care is sometimes available on-site as explained below.

1. How do people pay for retirement communities?
People pay for retirement communities with private funds, not with federal or state assistance.

2. How old are the residents?
Senior retirement communities aren’t necessarily seniors-only. Most allow younger guests and some allow younger residents.

3. What pets are allowed?
Pet policies differ from community to community. Homeowners might be restricted from keeping dogs of a certain size or breed, especially when living quarters are close. They might also need to follow policies about fish tanks, exotic pets and outdoor cats.

4. How independent are the residents?
Residents in retirement communities have different levels of health and independence.

  • Standard retirement communities are especially meant for what the industry calls active adults. Anyone needing special care must arrange for it privately.
  • Continuing care retirement communities have on-site care in case residents temporarily or permanently need home health care, personal care support or other in-home care.