What is Affordable Senior Living?

What is Affordable Senior Living?

Unfortunately, a lot of retirees have limited funds for their retirement years. For many, entering retirement means tightening the purse strings to make their nest egg or pension go as far as it can. Let’s take a look at the resources and choices available to seniors and your options for affordable senior living.

Affordable Senior Living Options

Affordable senior living can take many different shapes. From subsidized rent in a local apartment to programs that allow seniors to live independently in their personal homes, the following are senior housing resources that fall under the “affordable” umbrella.

Traditional Housing Options

You might not need to think about retirement communities just yet.

Many seniors may be able to find traditional housing or homes to meet their care and budgetary needs. Whether that means downsizing to fit your fixed income or relocating to a more central apartment that has access to public transportation, there are cost-effective housing solutions for retirement. You may find it useful to work with a rental realtor or property management company to find the perfect fit.

Low-Income Senior Apartments

Many cities and municipalities have formalized low-income housing for people in need. These apartments are usually centrally-located with close access to transportation services, and are privately owned or subsidized by the local government

There are traditionally income, age, or disability requirements for application, and the wait-lists can be lengthy. Check with local state or city agencies to see if there are low-income housing options near you.

HUD Housing Vouchers

If you would qualify for low-income housing, but discover a lack of openings in your area, you may be able to qualify for housing vouchers. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, helps low-income families and seniors “lease or purchase safe, decent, and affordable privately-owned rental housing,” if they qualify for the program.

Cooperative Housing

Don’t mind sharing responsibilities or space? An emerging trend in senior housing is cooperative housing.

In these housing agreements, the residents jointly own the apartment building or property and share costs amongst each other; each resident pays their portion of the mortgage, property taxes, and utilities. In cooperative housing, residents govern their property through councils, and provide amenities like shared social spaces and gardens. While growing in popularity, especially in the Midwest, long wait lists for application can be an issue.  

State-by-State Resources

Depending on where you live, you may have more options available to you for affordable senior living. In Washington State, adult family homes provide personal care services and other amenities in smaller, more intimate settings.

In Illinois, there are supportive living communities that are designed and operated much like assisted living, but with subsidized costs and age requirements. You can work with local support services like your Area Agency on Aging to find out if your state offers specialized, affordable senior housing.

Respite Care

For those who aren’t ready for a longterm investment, respite care is a brief visit to a retirement community that provides the same personalized care and attention to medical that a long-term resident would expect. Respite care stays can be as short as a week, or more than three months, depending on the wants and needs of the respite care resident.

A good number of people opt for respite care during the winter months, so they can enjoy socializing and activities instead of enduring the harsh elements. Respite care offers a relief from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and a welcome change of scenery!

Private Affordable Options

Many seniors find that even traditional senior living may be more affordable than continuing to live at home.

Independent and Assisted Living communities can help residents consolidate their monthly costs into one monthly fee that includes rent, food, and utilities, while eliminating expensive items like property taxes, homeowners insurance, and house repairs. With the rising cost of at-home care, retirement communities’ inclusive pricing can make sense for seniors needing personal care or help with household chores.

Another factor to consider is that senior living pricing varies greatly depending on your location, and there are many communities with affordable payment plans and financial assistance available.  

While finding the right housing in retirement can be challenging, it is good to understand all of your options. Fortunately, there are many places you can turn to find respite care and affordable senior living options right for you.


For more information on retirement options that fit your budget and lifestyle needs, reach out to a Senior Lifestyle community near you.

Find a Community

For more information on retirement and senior housing options, reach out to a Senior Lifestyle community near you.