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Types of Senior Housing in Minnesota

Posted Oct 28 2008 9:48pm

Although the Baby Boomers will force Minnesotans to re-examine the types of senior housing we have available, today these are the most common types of senior housing. Of course, the reason they are designated as "senior housing" is because of some type of age restriction, and it varies.  You'll find the range of age restriction from 50+, 60+, 65+ etc. If you'd like to own, a condominium, town home, or cooperative are good options.    

Condominiums & Town homes

This is a common choice for seniors who would like to downsize but still own a home and be responsible for some maintenance.   Condominiums and Town homes are similar in that each individual owns and is responsible for his or her own unit.   This means that the owner is responsible for maintenance and repair of interior mechanicals and appliances such as furnaces, hot water heaters, washers and dryers.   The common areas (such as the community rooms and grounds) and the exterior of the building are ownedjointly by all owners in the building. In both types of housing, owners elect a board of directors from their members. A monthly association fee is charged to owners to cover such things as maintaining the buildings and repairing the common areas.   The Association fees vary between different communities.   Make sure you know how much the association fee is, and what it covers.

Search the MLS for Condominiums and Town Homes  

Cooperative

A cooperative is also owned housing. Individuals buy a share of stock in the corporation, which entitles them to occupy a living unit in the building. A resident does not individually own his or her unit. Shareholders elect a board of directors from their membership. A monthly association fee is paid to cover repair, taxes, maintenance, management and other costs. Cooperatives can be "market" or "limited equity." In market rate cooperatives, the share cost reflects the full value of a unit. Market Rate condos are usually bought and sold similar to the way single family homes are.   They are made available on the market, and the seller expects to sell the condo for the original cost plus whatever equity the market will allow.  

In limited equity cooperatives, the share cost reflects a portion of the unit's value. This means the down payment and the monthly are usually determined by the Condominium’s association or board of directors. When it’s time to sell, the association will often have a waiting list so there is no need to put the condominium on the market.   The condo is sold for whatever the cooperative’s by-laws say.   In this case the sale price is not determined by the market the way   single family homes are 

Renting in a Senior Community

Independent Living

Independent Living, often referred to as Retirement Communities or Senior Apartments, are designed specifically for independent senior adults who want to enjoy a lifestyle filled with recreational, educational and social activities with other seniors. These communities are designed for seniors who are able to live on their own, but desire the security and conveniences of community living. Some communities offer an enriched lifestyle with organized social and recreational programs as a part of everyday while others provide housing with only a minimal amount of amenities or services.

Some Independent Living Communities offer abundant recreational activities which may include swimming pool/spas, exercise facilities, Clubhouse/Lounge and Library/ Reading Lounges. Communities may also provide laundry facilities, linen service, meals or access to meals, local transportation, and planned social activities. Communities may have restrictions on age such as 55 and older, or 62 and older. 

Plans can include housekeeping, laundry, van or scheduled transportation. Most communities with these services also provide at least one group activity per day. 

Private Funds are most often used, although some senior apartments are subsidized and accept Section 8 vouchers. Medicare and Medicaid do not cover payment since no health care is provided.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

While there is a great variety of options in retirement housing, one type of retirement community was specifically developed to accommodate the changing needs of mature adults. 

In return for an entrance fee and a monthly maintenance fee, the communities agree to provide care for the residents for the rest of their lives - regardless of how much assistance they may come to require.   Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) are residential campuses that provide a continuum of care---from private units to assisted living and then skilled nursing care, all in one location.

CCRCs offer a variety of residential services including the following:

• a maintained apartment, townhouse, or other unit
• cleaning and laundry service
• meals in common dining areas (# per day varies)
• ground maintenance
• security
• social, recreational, and cultural programs

Health care services:
• care is covered for contracted services
• personal care and help with daily activities
• nursing care
• rehabilitative care
• respite & hospice care
• Alzheimer's & special care clean, furnished room


With Continuing Care there are many different types of contracts and fees to consider. An Extensive contract offers unlimited long-term nursing care for little or no increase in monthly fees. A Modified contract includes a specified amount of health care beyond which additional fees are incurred. Some communities may require residents to purchase long term care insurance as criteria for acceptance. There are also communities that provide services and access to medical care on a month-to-month basis. 

When evaluating communities, assess the facility in terms of quality of services and financial stability.

Assisted Living - Housing with Services Market Rate

Assisted Living provides a special combination of residential housing, personalized supportive services and health care. These residential settings maximize independence, but do not provide skilled nursing care. Assisted Living may offer the same features as independent living communities, with the added assistance of personal care. 

Assisted Living Communities can be free standing, part of a Continuing Care Community that provides independent, assisted and nursing care, affiliated with a nursing home, or often are specialized services brought into independent retirementcommunities.

Service may or may not be included with the rent. Most Assisted Living Communities accept private pay only; however is some states there is assistance with payment. Because prices and features vary, it is important to check with the developments of your choice and be aware of what you will receive and at what cost.

Programs may be very comprehensive, offering a continuum of care as residents become frail or need assistance. Or there may be a "menu" ofservices that residents may use or purchase as needed. Services and features may include meals, laundry/linen service, housekeeping, personal care/nurse, 24-hour emergency response system, transportation, and organized social and recreational activities. Seniors considering housing with special services/programs may appreciate the security of being able to consider "aging in place" as needs change.

See a  list of senior housing on-line by city

Assisted Living - Housing with Services Subsidized

Housing with special services and programs is available in certain buildings that are subsidized. Along with an affordable apartment new and current residents can access services based on a percentage of their income. Cost for services is based on participants' income and resources

Health care is not provided with your normal fees, but many communities will allow you to pay for a home health aide or nurse to come into your apartment to assist you with medicines and personal care.

See a  list of senior housing on-line by city

Order your own copy of the senior housing directory

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