Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Pittsburgh

Choosing an Apartment
What is the best option for you?

Senior Citizen’s Guide to Pittsburgh
Submitted by SeniorCare Network
Author: Cassandra Law, Senior Director of Supportive Housing

You have made the decision to move out of your home into a smaller, yet comfortable apartment that you can more easily manage on your own. Now that you have made your decision, where do you start looking?

The first step to choosing an apartment is to decide what location or area you wish to live in. There are plenty of location options available in senior housing. Some are in the heart of the City offering easy access to bus lines, as well as plenty of amenities within walking distance. Other apartment buildings are found in more suburban locations providing a living environment away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Perhaps you would like to move to a location that is close to a family member, or maybe a few of your friends recently moved into a community and you are interested in joining them for companionship. Once you have decided the living environment that best suits you, it’s time to think about your needs and desires.

While the exterior of many buildings look similar, it is important to know that not all apartment buildings are alike. Are you looking for somewhere that you may age in place, somewhere that assists you as your needs change?

If so, “supportive” housing for older adults is an excellent option to stay in your new apartment for as long as possible. Generally, to qualify for supportive housing, there are requirements based on age and income. Be sure to research the requirements before you begin the application process.

How does “supportive” housing work? Simply stated, as your needs change, services and resources are available to help you. For example, many properties managed by SeniorCare Network, the real estate affiliate of Presbyterian SeniorCare, have full-time Service Coordinators. A Service Coordinator goes above and beyond to ensure your wellness, safety and comfort. They are responsible for establishing ties to service providers and agencies in the community, referring residents to such providers and monitoring the provision of these services. Service Coordinators will personally sit down with you, help to assess your needs, and monitor and schedule services as you need them.

Senior living communities with Service Coordinators have found that older adults are able to remain at home for a longer period of time than communities without Service Coordinators. Community Managers and Service Coordinators work as a team to meet the physical, social and emotional needs of residents.

In addition to the benefit of onsite service coordination, look for “supportive” housing communities that offer onsite laundry facilities, fully equipped kitchens and the majority of utilities included within the rent. Additionally, many communities offer onsite wellness, exercise and educational programs, as well as optional meal plans to support the needs and desires of residents. Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything you need right in your building – it is stress-free living!

Once you have decided whether or not you would like to live in a “supportive” housing community, you should consider personal comfort and safety. Do you have a pet? If you wish to take your pet to your new home, be sure to ask if you may have a dog or a cat and if the size of the animal is restricted. If you are active and plan to be in and out of the building, be sure to check to see if the building has parking and a secure entrance with intercom-only access. Safety should be a top priority at all times, whether you are in your apartment or not.  Also check to be sure that the facility is clean and don’t be shy to ask for a tour of the entire building. Also, ask if there is 24-hour emergency maintenance and if the manager of the property is available at all times. These few simple questions will help give you peace of mind as you find your way to your new home.    

Remember, there are many things to consider. If you are looking for a senior living community that offers extra wraparound services, consider “supportive” housing. Keep location in mind, followed by your personal needs (remember to consider your needs now and keep future needs in mind) and don’t forget the importance of security and comfort.

About SeniorCare Network: SeniorCare Network is the non-profit real estate affiliate of Presbyterian SeniorCare and is committed to serving the needs of older adults and persons with disabilities through the development and management of quality housing communities that support a person’s ability to age in place. SeniorCare Network has received numerous awards for excellence in supportive housing including the 2013 Pennsylvania Supportive Housing Award.

Click here to learn more about SeniorCare Network

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