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Choosing a Senior Apartment for 55+ Living: 10 Questions You Can’t Afford to Ignore

senior apartments in a city landscape

Senior apartments for 55+ living can be an excellent choice for those who want to downsize, live a more active lifestyle, or enjoy new friends and communities. But with so many options available, how do you know which one is the right fit for you? You want to make sure that you end up in a place that’s safe, comfortable, and affordable! Here are 10 questions you should be asking when choosing a senior apartment.


1. How Much Space Do You Need?

wheelchair in an accessible bathroom

Do you want a one-bedroom or two-bedroom? Do you need a kitchen with all the appliances or can you manage with a smaller kitchenette? Think about your lifestyle and what is important to you. Also important to consider is whether the apartment meets your physical abilities. Ensure that the unit is spacious for your lifestyle, moving around as you desire, and comes with adequate storage. All areas of the unit should be easily accessible, including the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.

2. What Amenities Are Available?

swimming seniors

Each senior apartment complex is unique and offers different amenities. Some common ones include recreational areas, fitness centers, social programs, and transportation services. Make a list of the amenities that are essential for you and ensure that the apartments you are considering offer them.


3. Where is the Senior Apartment Located?

apartment dancing

Ideally, you want to be in an area that is close to family and friends, medical facilities, shopping centers, and local entertainment. Ensure that access to transportation is not a problem whether by road or public transit.

4. What is Your Budget?

budgeting couple

Senior apartments can range in cost based on location, amenities provided, included services, and overall quality. Determine the amount you can afford to pay for rent, utilities, food, and other expenses. This will eliminate options that are too expensive for you. Don’t forget, there are basically 3 types of senior apartment pricing models:

  • Affordable – The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines affordable housing as a residence that “a household can obtain for 30 percent or less of its income.” Affordable senior apartments are just this – rent and utilities are subsidized as a less expensive option for seniors living on fixed incomes.
  • Market Rate – Apartments available for market rate are rented without any subsidies and offer competitive prices and a variety of amenities. Rates are usually slightly lower than all-age apartments.
  • Luxury – Luxury apartments are those that offer larger units, more upscale amenities, and are typically higher in price. Complexes categorized as luxury will often be located near cultural activities.

5. What is the Senior Apartment’s Community Atmosphere Like?

happy retiree group

How are the staff, management, and residents? They are all integral parts of the senior apartment complex. They can make or break your experience. Take some time to speak with the staff and management and get a feel for how they treat the residents and the level of service they offer. Also, talk to some of the residents to get their perspective on the staff and the quality of life in the complex.

6. What is the Lease Agreement Like?

55+ couple consulting

Before you sign the lease agreement, ensure that you read and understand what is included in it. Pay attention to the lease terms, such as length, renewals, and early termination fees. Also, check the lease for any requirements, such as attending social programs or paying for additional services.


7. What are the Visitor and Pet Policies?

dog on the couch with senior reading a book

If you have pets in your longtime home, you probably don’t want to leave them behind. Some senior apartments are pet-friendly, welcoming your furry friends as part of the community while others may have restrictions on pet ownership. There also may be restrictions on what times family and friends may visit the community. Ensure that you understand the policies and are willing to abide by them.

8. Is There Security?

home security

What is the security like? Ensure the senior apartment complex has secure entrances, surveillance cameras, and maybe even on-site officers. Also, check if they have an emergency response system in place in case of an emergency.

9. What Assistance is Available?

helping hand with cane

Limited mobility or health conditions may require special assistance, particularly relating to daily activities. When inquiring about the apartment, ask if they provide emergency or non-emergency assistance. Check if other medical resources or home healthcare services are nearby. Some senior apartments offer basic care services, while others have more comprehensive care options.

10. What’s the Social Environment Like?

social seniors

An activity center, libraries, game venues, or other social gatherings are important for you. You should definitely consider the presence of social gatherings, having good neighbors, and attending community activities. Staying social is the key to fending off loneliness!

How to Find Senior Apartments

senior apartments in a city landscape

Choosing a senior apartment for 55+ living requires careful consideration. By asking yourself these ten questions, you can be confident that you are making the right decision for your lifestyle and needs. Remember to take your time, compare your options and make an informed decision.


If you’re ready to start searching for senior apartments, then start here!

Originally published August 21, 2023

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