Treemont Retirement Blog

Senior Living Community vs Senior Apartment Living Options Explored

Posted by Lisa Witt on Dec 23, 2014 5:09:00 PM

Senior Living Houston, TX vs Senior Apartment Living Options Explored

Many people searching for senior living options in Houston, TX struggle to determine if they are ready for a full amenity retirement home option or want an independent living apartment in a 55+ community with fewer amenities.  Making the decision to move out of one’s home or apartment is a Senior_Hispanic_assisted_living_couple_croppedsignificant late-life decision. Once again, my 80-year old Mom alerts me to issues of concern to seniors in transition.  My mom mentioned that her long-time tennis, play-going, mah jongg friend Helen is moving to a 55+ community that has minimal options for additional care when the need arises. The truth is my mom thinks Helen is frail and needs additional care now, as do Helen’s adult children. Helen has decided, however, to move into a 55+ “buy-in” community with no additional care options. My Mom is concerned that Helen is making a commitment with a large down payment on this senior living community that provides few if any options for when Helen can no longer live independently.

Questions to ponder.  First, does the community have the option for additional care should the need arise?  Second, does the senior living Houston community offer dining room, housekeeping, transportation, activities and other amenities as part of its monthly rent? This can help provide maintenance-free living which means more time to enjoy hobbies and develop new friendships at your new community! Then, from a budget perspective, how does an independent living apartment compare,to the cost of a more supportive, senior living or assisted living option?

Continuum of Care Options.  Many 55+ communities are beautifully designed, with pool, tennis courts and club houses. They are for seniors who are under 70 and have not yet experienced any significant health concerns. The senior apartments are often larger than a traditional senior living or retirement community apartment, with nicely equipped, full kitchens.  Typically, however, they offer no meal plan or housekeeping or transportation services. They might offer emergency pull chords in the apartments.

Senior living communities in Houston, TX often offer a continuum of care options, such as “home health care” in one’s independent living apartment. One might need medication management or assistance with senior_living_houston_tx_residentbathing or dressing. Some home health care entities offer services that are covered under Medicare such as wound care, nursing care, physical therapy and more. Click here to learn more about such Independence Plus service options.

Some retirement communities offer a full continuum of care, on campus that provides both traditional assisted living care and nursing and rehabilitation services. This continuing care can provide peace of mind that your address does not have to change as your care needs do. It is traumatic enough for seniors to move from their home of 50+ years. Why risk a second move. You can keep your same address by choosing a retirement community in which you can remain in place, keeping the same friends you’ve made at your new home.

Senior Apartment vs Senior Living Options.  Many seniors choose an independent living apartment in Houston, TX because they believe the cost of living will be less. Often times when one compares the cost of the amenities of leasing a $800-$1000 apartment vs choosing a retirement home apartment, the benefits of the latter become transparent.

Let’s review a Senior’s monthly budget:

Groceries and Dining Out:                                                                              $400/month

Housekeeping                                                                                                 $200/month

Transportation, including upkeep of car and auto insurance                         $250/month

Activities (at Senior Centers)                                                                          $  50/month

Total                                                                                                                $ 900/month

Are you concerned about the cost of assisted living, Houston, TX? A full-service senior living apartment in Houston, TX can start at $1,600/monthly. If you are spending $800 to $1,000 on an independent living apartment, you may be getting much more for your money by choosing a full-service retirement community living apartment in Houston, TX.  If you are still residing in your large home, you might add in the upkeep and maintenance on an older home plus the maintenance and insurance cost of keeping your car.

Senior Living Community ‘Peace-of-Mind Amenities. Often these independent living communities also offer more “peace-of-mind” amenities such as emergency pull-chords in your apartment. Treemont Retirement Community offers an optional daily “9 o’clock safety check” program.  This works as follows. You place a card on the outside doorknob of your apartment every evening at 9pm and then remove it at 9am. If your card is not put out or removed as planned, a senior living employee will knock on your door to check on the resident. If there is no answer, they will enter the apartment for a physical check. This type of optional service can give single seniors and their family members in particular the peace of mind they need. As mentioned above, some Independent Living Communities have home health are on premises, providing an additional safety net. These are the types of intangible services that are offered in a retirement home that an independent senior apartment does not typically provide.

If you are concerned about the cost of assisted living in Houston, TX, it is important to analyze what your current and long-term needs might be. Try to make a realistic decision rather than an emotional one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve observed seniors walk into any senior living community and say, “I don’t want to live with all those ‘old folks.” People view themselves as they looked 10 or 20 years ago. It is hard to tell an 80 year old  individual that they might just look like the seniors in the community they just observed!

Visit a Community. It is always a wise move to take the time to visit the community a few times — have lunch, join an entertainment event, party or activity. Meet residents who have had illustrative careers in banking, oil and gas industry, teaching and other careers. Join their coffee klatches and see the camaderie that has developed. It is a joy to see the new friendships made among senior residents in assisted living communities. It is a pleasure to have senior tell me how happy they are in their new home, without the upkeep of their home, or having to worry about cooking meals.

It is so hard to overcome the emotion of selling one’s 50-year home or downsizing from a large apartment to a smaller one. It is often hard to imagine that new friendships can be forged in one’s golden years. Residing in an active senior living community in Houston, TX can be the best of all worlds…independence, activities, companionship, stability and great food!  Plan to visit a few communities to determine which would be the best fit for you. I often hear the only complaint a resident has after moving to Treemont Retirement Community is, “I just wish I knew then what I know now….and if I did, the one thing I would have changed is I would have moved sooner!”  This is the time to take the necessary steps to secure your lifestyle for the future. Take the first step by scheduing your free lunch and tour.

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Topics: Top 10 Questions for Assisted Living