“What are the different senior housing types?” is a question that I get often.  In this article, I will explain the different classes of senior housing, and hopefully it will answer the question for you.

Honestly, I didn’t know all the senior housing types at one time.  I had the greatest knowledge of the senior housing types that I sold.  They are nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  On the surface, this seems like an obvious question, but it is actually more complex than you would think.   I conducted research on types of senior housing to prepare for this article and ironically the most definitive source came from the Internal Revenue Service on its website at irs.gov.

“Seniors Only” Complexes:

Apartment complexes, condominiums, cooperatives, and other such retirement communities offer private, separate residences designed for the independent senior. These types of communities do not provide medical services but provide seniors with maintenance-free living, recreational facilities and ownership or with rental units, the opportunity for seniors to free up equity to supplement income.

Modular Home Communities:

Modular Home Communities is a senior housing classification that is also known as mobile home communities.  They have both full-time residents and part-year residents.  The part-year residents are oftentimes called “snowbirds” because they only live in the community during particular times of the year. Mobile units, which are usually not mobile, are typically leased to or owned by the residents.

ECHO Housing:

Elderly Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO), Accessory Units, or Granny Flats are housing where seniors occupy a second family living unit or apartment with a separate entrance, on a single-family lot, with another family. The homes are usually complete, portable, small homes installed in the back or side yards of single-family house lots to provide safe, affordable housing for someone who is self-sufficient. Generally, ECHOs foster affordable housing or aid families with elderly parents unable to live alone. The owner of the home may be a senior, or the “renting” party may be a senior.

Shared Housing:

Organizations may set up a type of senior housing where seniors can share their home or share the home of another. The roommate need not also be a senior. Professional organizations that specialize in these types of arrangements match the two parties based on needs on one side and abilities to provide on the other side. The organization will screen before matching and follow up afterward to help the match work out.

Assisted Living Facilities:

Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) offer help with non-medical aspects of daily activities in an atmosphere of separate, private living units.  Residents that are less able to function independently in all aspects of their daily lives live in ALFs.  In some states, licensing is required.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities:

A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is a senior housing classification that combines housing, services, and health care, allowing seniors to enjoy a private residential lifestyle with the opportunity of independence and the assurances of long-term health care.

Skilled Nursing Facilities:

Skilled nursing facilities (SNF) or nursing homes offer the most intensive level of care on the residential care continuum. Nursing homes are 24-hour nursing operations.  SNFs also offer post-operative recuperation, complex medical care and supports chronically ill individuals who can no longer live independently.  States provide licenses to SNFs to ensure they meet standards of safety, staffing, and care procedures. Such facilities may be freestanding or part of a senior community.  Nursing homes is a class of senior housing that may specialize in short-term, acute nursing care, intermediate or long-term skilled nursing care.

Alzheimer’s Facilities:

Alzheimer’s Facilities are a category of senior housing that accommodates patients in a congregate or independent wing of a multi-level campus when they have Early-stage Alzheimer’s. Many assisted living communities will accept and successfully house early stage residents. As the disease progresses, patients develop argumentative behavior, “sundowning” and wandering habits.  Generally, Patients in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s are best taken care of in this type of senior housing.

Senior Day Care Centers:

Senior Day Care Centers is a senior housing classification that includes services such as “custodial care” with programs for Care Centers stimulation and rehabilitation.  They also provide medical care and procedures.

Senior Short-Term Vacation Housing:

Senior short-term vacation housing is a class of senior housing that offers a “try before you buy” option Term Vacation.  It allows one to take advantage of a senior community in a distant Housing location.  They are for people too frail for the rigors of hotels and restaurants for multiple days.  They can vacation at a slower pace with needed care available to them.

My focus is on Skilled Nursing Facilities. Specifically, I help owners of Texas nursing homes find the right buyer for the right price while achieving financial success.  One of the most rewarding aspects of working with this senior housing category is visiting them. Personally, I take care of my mother and I visit her weekly at her nursing home.  I also enjoy touring the facilities while I am finding them a new owner. I encourage you to visit any senior housing facility near you. Only then do you gain an appreciation of how senior housing plays such an important role in our society.

Review Some Additional Skilled Nursing Articles