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Housing and Services Tool

EIA's Continuum of Care Summary can be used as a tool to assess a person's capabilities and needs in order to determine the appropriate type of housing options.

Provider Types and Aging Services

The following is a list of provider types and aging services to help you decide what is right for you or your loved one. This information can be found, with more detail, in Sarah Mashburn's article, "Choosing a Provider." Also, please view Sarah McVeigh's article, "Consumer Guide to Quality Aging Services" which features a questionnaire designed to help you identify quality organizations.

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)

HCBS providers can offer everything from help with chores to healthcare services, or even just someone to call and check in on you. Also, if you are taking care of a family member or friend, these services can give you the help and support that you need as well. 

Senior Housing

You may want to think about senior housing if you want to live on your own, but do not want to have all the chores that go along with having a home. Senior housing is also a great option for people who want to live in a community with other seniors.

  • Depending on the community you choose, you can rent an apartment either at the market rate or if your income level applies, a lower rate. They are often specially designed with things like railings in bathrooms or power outlets higher up on the wall. They may also offer a 24-hour emergency call service if residents need help right away. Some places may also offer different kinds of services to the people who live there such as meals, transportation, social activities, and other programs.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds several rental assistance programs for seniors who qualify. These programs include:
    • Public housing, or low-income housing that is owned and operated by a local housing authority. To apply for public housing, or Section 8 certificates, or vouchers, you must go to your housing authority. Each housing authority has a system for accepting applications. They can tell you what their system is and the steps you will need to take to find an apartment.
    • Privately owned subsidized housing includes units where the government provides subsidies directly to owners of qualified properties developed with loans or grants from the Federal government. The owners pass along the federal rental assistance subsidy to qualified residents to cover the gap between the resident payment, generally 30 percent of adjusted income, and rent costs. To apply for housing in a privately-owned affordable housing community, you will have to visit the management office for each community that interests you. You can get a listing of the privately owned subsidized housing sites in your area by contacting your local HUD office. 

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

CCRCs, offer a few types of services all in one location, which gives a person the chance to stay in one place even if his or her needs change. CCRCs offer a range of services including nursing and other health services, meals, housekeeping, transportation, emergency help, and personal care. They also usually have several social and educational activities on site.

  • CCRCs differ from other housing options because they offer you a contract that says the CCRC will provide housing and services for life. Most CCRCs require a one-time entrance fee and monthly payments thereafter. Fees vary by community, depending on the type of housing and services offered. Other CCRCs operate on a rental basis, in which case you would make monthly payments, but would not pay an entrance fee. 

Assisted Living

If a person needs daily help, but not constant nursing care, assisted living may be a good choice. Assisted living residences provide help with the everyday things people need such as bathing, getting dressed, taking medicine, cooking, shopping, housekeeping, laundry, and getting around. But, they do all of this while still giving a person the chance to stay active and control your own life.

  • Assisted living facilities may be part of a retirement community or nursing home, or they may stand alone. They offer single or double rooms, or sometimes even suites or apartments, depending on a person's needs and how much he or she can afford.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes offer around-the-clock care if someone is too sick to live on their own, or if they need to recover after having an illness or operation. Some people stay for a short time in a nursing home and return to their own home. Other people may be sicker and need more care for longer.

  • Nursing homes are licensed by the state to provide nursing care, personal care, and medical services. They also offer different kinds of therapies to help a person recover after an illness or surgery. They provide meals, do laundry, and housekeeping. Finally, nursing homes offer different kinds of activities like art classes and religious services to help residents socialize and make it a place they can call home.

While there are many different services available, not every community has them. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging to find out which services are available in your area.


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