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About Retirement Home Living

About Retirement Home Living

Retirement homes are a great option for those seniors who do not have a need for a larger home, but who still want to maintain an independent space. In retirement homes, seniors have access to their own private rooms or a suite of rooms maintained within a larger space. They typically share other facilities such as dining quarters, social areas, and even spaces such as beauty salons in the facility with other individuals. Retirement homes typically offer a lower level of medical care and greater independence for seniors than facilities such as nursing homes.

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Tips For Seniors Looking to Buy into Retirement Communities

Tips For Seniors Looking to Buy into Retirement Communities

When it comes to senior living options, there are a number of housing options available for today's elderly population. While some seniors will require the care and attention of nursing homes or assisted living communities, there are others who don't require as much care, but who instead want to be ...More

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What is a Retirement Home?

What is a Retirement Home?

In an industrial-driven society, retirement often proves more fantasy than reality. Thoughts rarely stray from the 9 to 5 immediacy, and preparing for the future seems impossible. People must work to live and live to work. However, the day eventually comes for every man and woman to give a final ...More

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Keeping Seniors Independent While in Retirement Homes

Keeping Seniors Independent While in Retirement Homes

Moving to a retirement home can be a challenging and at times overwhelming transitional time for seniors. However, even for seniors who are enthusiastic about life in retirement homes, many feel as though life in one of these communities can cause a detriment to their independence. This is why it is...More

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Top Cities for Retirement Homes in the US

What is a Retirement Home?

Retirement home communities, sometimes referred to as independent living, are typically multi-residence housing facilities, similar to an apartment or condominium complex. Residents have private suites from studio size up to a one-bedroom apartment. Residences can be purchased via a “buy-in” option or rented. Depending on the retirement home, there may be a variety of service offerings such as assistance with daily living, meals, social groups, recreational activities, transportation and other services.

Most retirement communities provide onsite security and access to maintenance and housekeeping services. A retirement home is an attractive option for seniors wishing to live independently and to reduce typical homeowner responsibilities. Residents of independent living units may have some in-home health care-type services provided to them by an outside agency. Every retirement home offers services that may vary, so it is important to do research and ask questions.

Retirement Home vs. Assisted Living

The difference between a retirement community and an assisted living facility are the services that are provided. Those living in retirement centers have access to help with meals and housekeeping/maintenance tasks, as well as services focused on recreation and group activities. Assisted Living centers have a more hands-on approach and typically have staff onsite 24-7 to help aging adults with activities of daily living, such as grooming, bathing, dressing, medication reminders, laundry and other personal services. At least one medical professional (typically a certified nurse practitioner), is always available in most assisted living residences.

What Does it Cost and How to Pay?

A retirement home costs less than assisted living or a nursing home. The monthly fees for a retirement community vary mainly due to size and location, with the average cost ranging from $1,500 to $3,500 per month. Some retirement communities require an entrance fee, also called a "buy-in" fee, while others only require monthly rent. Similar to any long-term-care option, the costs and options associated with a retirement home vary by area – it is important to explore each facility, ask questions and read over agreements carefully to be sure the community offers what is desired. Long-term care insurance or life insurance may help pay some of the costs of a retirement community, but most residents pay out-of-pocket for their living expenses.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is a policy that is purchased through a private insurance company. Similar to health insurance policies, the price varies greatly depending on age, general health and amount of coverage needed. Coverage could be denied for people with pre-existing conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease. Not all insurance will deny based on these conditions so it is important to explore different insurance companies.


Medicaid is a Federal and State health insurance program for those with low income and limited assets. Administration of the program varies by state, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicaid does not cover the costs of a retirement home but may pay for services used in conjunction with a facility such as skilled nursing visits or home health. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid has strict eligibility requirements.


Medicare is a federal government program for those 65 or older with low income and limited assets. It generally does not pay for retirement home care but it will cover intermittent skilled nursing, physical, occupational or speech therapy or other home health services that may be used while living in a retirement community.

Aid and Attendance Benefit for Veterans

According to the VA website, the Aid and Attendance benefit (A&A) benefit is a special benefit for war era veterans and their surviving spouses. It is a tax-free benefit designed to provide financial assistance to help cover the cost of long-term care in the home, in an assisted living facility or in a nursing home. For those living in a retirement home wishing to qualify for this benefit, the individual would require the regular attendance of another person or caregiver in at least two of the daily activities of living. To learn more about the eligibility requirements and to apply for these veteran benefits visit online.

Private Funding

In situations when costs aren’t covered through other means, paying via private funds is an option. Sources of private funds for retirement homes include retirement accounts and 401Ks, savings accounts, annuities and insurance plans (including life settlements), trusts and stock market investments. Home equity and bridge loans can also be used when transitioning to a retirement community.

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