Deciding whether to leave your home and move or stay in it and adapt it is a challenging and emotional decision.

Since housing needs change throughout our lives, here are some factors to consider with your current home:

  • Are the stairs difficult to climb?
  • Are your long-time neighbors moving away?
  • Do you tend to use only one or two rooms?
  • Is it getting harder or more costly to maintain the residence?
  • Do you want to live closer to family or friends?
  • Would a change in residence improve your lifestyle?
  • Don’t drive and available transportation is not adequate
  • Want a different climate?

These resources can help with your decisions:

  • Choosing a Retirement Community
  • Choosing the Active Lifestyle You Want

Aging In Place

If your parents decide to stay in their home and have difficulty caring for themselves, one of the best things an Adult Child can do is to pay for an in-home care provider. This gift will help them cope with health and mobility issues. It will also relieve the Adult Child of some of the stress associated with day-to-day care. How do you know when your parents need in-home assistance? Here are some warning signs:

Changes in personal hygiene: Failing to bathe on a daily basis, sleeping in their clothes, or not changing their clothes or washing them on a regular basis

The house is not clean and tidy: When the house starts to deteriorate, it can start a domino effect which can add to the unhealthy environment. Plumbing leaks can generate mold spores which can become unhealthy to breathe, for example.

Lack of proper nutrition: Often an elderly parent loses interest in preparing food and, therefore, their health begins to deteriorate. They may also have trouble lifting food out of the car, or difficulty driving.

Forgetfulness: Do they leave food cooking on the stove, leave a faucet running, or forget to take their medications? Are the bills paid on time?

Many parents may resist having someone to care them. They may not be able to imagine how an in-home provider can help them. Be sure to include them in the discussion on how a provider can help them. List the tasks that you want the care provider to perform. Be sure that the provider doesn’t spend too much time on the phone, etc. Hire someone from a reputable agency who will do a good job. If you or your parent feels uncomfortable with the provider, switch to someone else immediately.

Moving Elsewhere – Selling the Family Home

What opportunities are there for the person over age 55 who wants to make a move? There are a variety of choices, depending on what your lifestyle will be.

Age-restricted or Active Adult Communities:

These are restricted to those over the age of 55, or sometimes 62 or better. Larger complexes will often be gated and have security. Visitors under the restricted age may stay, but usually only 2 weeks or so. Filled with a variety of activities, these communities can have villa-style homes on one level or with a loft; or they may include townhouses with elevators, or condominiums. There is a centrally-located clubhouse around which much of the activity revolves. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis, a game room, exercise room, library, social events and group activities are the core of these communities. A golf course may or may not be included. These communities are oriented toward an active lifestyle.

Assisted Living Facility :

This type of housing offers independent living in private apartments. Residents are given the opportunity to share activities in an atmosphere of separate, private apartments with a common area for socialization and dining. These facilities offer personalized supportive services and health care designed to meet the needs-both scheduled and unscheduled-of those who need help with activities of daily living. These services can include:

  • Three meals a day served in a common dining area
  • Housekeeping services
  • Transportation
  • Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and walking
  • Access to health and medical services
  • 24-hour security and staff availability
  • Emergency call systems for each resident’s unit
  • Health promotion and exercise programs
  • Medication management
  • Personal laundry services
  • Social and recreational activities


These residences are usually in a garden, mid-rise, or high rise building. The area inside the unit is maintained by the owner, but the area outside the unit is maintained through a condominium association which charges each owner a monthly fee to maintain the property and common areas. Condominiums may be age-restricted to 55 or better, or may be in an urban or suburban area and  include a mix of ages.

For more information about Considering Condominium Living, click here.


Naturally Occurring  Retirement Communities are those where seniors sell their homes and move to an apartment. These apartments have a high proportion of people over the age of 65. They enjoy the lack of maintenance and the “lock and leave” freedom this type of housing provides.


Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity, also known as a granny flat. Seniors occupy a second family living unit or apartment with a separate entrance.


These communities offer life care and provide the senior with an independent lifestyle. The community requires a buy-in, or an up-front annuity with monthly payments covering services, amenities and medical, as needed. The buy-in may or may not be refundable. The CCRC provides multiple levels of care, without the uncertainty of what will happen to you as you age. You enter as an independent adult. Care levels may include assisted living, alzheimers care, nursing care, and hospice. Everyone lives on the same grounds and move from one housing choice to another as their needs change. This option is very expensive but the resident is guaranteed lifetime shelter and care with a contract that spells out the housing and care obligations of the CCRC as well as its costs.

Housing for active adults may be an apartment, cottage, cluster home, or single family home. There are monitored emergency call systems, grab bars, and other safety features.

Assisted living units may be small studio or one-bedroom apartments with scaled down kitchens. There is often a group dining area and common areas for social and recreational activities. Residents may need some assistance in daily living but want to maintain their independence as long as possible.

Nursing care units are usually one room housing two or more persons with an attached bathroom. Residents may require skilled nursing care and may benefit from therapy to maintain or improve their abilities.

The cost for this type of housing is very high and unaffordable to those with lower incomes. Several fee schedules are available:

  • Extensive contracts which include unlimited long-term nursing care with little or no increase in the monthly fee
  • Modified contracts that include a specified amount of long-term nursing care. Beyond that specified time, you are responsible for payments.
  • Fee-for-Service contracts in which you pay full daily rates for long-term nursing care

Most of the CCRCs require a medical examination to assess the applicant’s physical and mental status. Selected pre-existing conditions may cause a CCRC to refuse an applicant. And they must have the financial ability to pay.