Aging Options

LIMITED TIME OFFER: First Academy Lesson is Free

Seniors in Search of Affordable Housing Have a Range of Strategies   

Save as PDF

Are there good options out there for those in search of affordable senior housing? The answer,

according to this recent article from US News, is yes – but you have to be willing to consider a wide range of choices. In the article, reporters Ruben Castaneda and Elaine Howley run down a list of what they call affordable senior housing options, and we offer their list here as food for thought.

Before we get to the meat of the article, however, it’s worth noting that a high percentage of seniors are heading into their older years with meager resources. Many have not saved for retirement, and others are still reeling from layoffs during the Great Recession and the COVID pandemic. For every senior who can comfortably choose the type of housing they want, there are many who have to find ways to stretch a significantly limited budget.

We would point out that these authors fail to mention two increasingly popular options: multi-generational living, and shared housing, with seniors sharing a home like tv’s Golden Girls.  That said, let’s see what else Castaneda and Howley have to suggest.

Affordable Senior Housing: An Inevitable Need

“Aging is inevitable,” the reporters begin, “and for many of us, that means we’ll need more support and care later in life.”

Indeed, most of these housing options focus to some degree on aging in place. But that goal, shared by a large majority of seniors, could be elusive. As one Forbes article put it, “Aging in place challenges are expected to grow exponentially over the next two decades as the baby boomer generation retires and moves toward the need for in-home support and greater health care needs.”

US News agrees. “Senior care options can be expensive,” the article states, “so for seniors on a budget, we’ve rounded up some living options and other strategies that can help make paying for care more affordable.”

Aging at Home With In-Home Care: Affordable for Some

People overwhelmingly want to age in place at home. The Forbes article cited above puts the figure at 92 percent. But, as noted, it’s not simply a matter of deciding to stay put.

“[To age in place,] you may need to rely on someone who can help you with activities of daily living – such as bathing, dressing and using the bathroom – and other needs as they arise,” says the US News analysis. (You’ll find a discussion of these activities of daily living and much more in this article which we ran on the Blog last fall.)

Generally speaking, that help will either come from paid caregivers or from unpaid friends and family members. Each has its advantages and drawbacks.

Paid Caregivers: Professional Care at a Higher Cost

Professional at-home personal care aides come to the client’s home on a schedule, such as two or three days a week, and provide assistance with daily tasks,” the article explains. “A certified nursing assistant, also known as a home health aide, is trained to provide additional care, such as changing dressings, providing medication and helping a client with walking aids.”

We should note that there has been a shortage of home health care workers in recent years.  A Washington Post article from 2022 explains that the shortage was severely exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. “The result,” says the Post, “is that an increasing share of elderly and disabled people are living at home but having difficulty finding the help they need to do it safely.”

Then there’s the cost – affordable for some seniors but not for all. “Prices for these caregivers can vary depending on geographic location and the type and level of care needed,” US News explains.  “On average, however, the monthly cost for homemaker services is $5,720, and a home health aide costs $6,292 per month, according to Genworth Financial’s 2023 Cost of Care Survey.” (We note that Genworth’s estimates are based on 44 hours of care per week.)

Informal Caregivers: A Viable Choice but Beware of Burnout

What if paid care is not affordable? “Another option,” says US News, “is to rely on a network of informal caregivers, such as family and friends, who can help with grocery shopping, preparing meals and arranging for transportation to medical appointments.” But families need to understand that so-called “free” care is definitely not without cost.

“While the senior may not be required to pay cash to the caregiver in these situations, there is still a cost to it,” Castaneda and Howley write. “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 37 million adults provide unpaid eldercare in the U.S. Almost half of these caregivers provide care several times a week, and close to one-quarter do so every day. Average daily care amounts to about 3.6 hours.”

That’s over 1,300 hours of care per year – with a market value of tens of thousands of dollars.

Then there’s out-of-pocket costs to consider. “Informal caregivers may also spend their own money,” says US News. “A 2021 report from AARP notes that caregivers spent $7,242 per year – 26 percent of their income – providing care to a senior.”

Caring for a loved one is, first and foremost, an act of compassion, and millions of caregivers undertake their tasks joyfully. “But remember,” the article warns, “on top of the financial costs, there can be an emotional cost to caring for a loved one that can’t be quantified.” Family caregiving can be a blessing to all involved, but “care for the caregiver” has to be part of the equation.

Affordable Senior Housing Made Easier with Adult Day Care

According to the US News report, an adult day care center may be a good solution for seniors who get lonely staying home all day. These centers also provide valuable respite for caregivers, letting the senior socialize in a safe environment.

“Adult day care centers operate much like child day care facilities do,” says the article: “They look after the needs of the adult during the day in a secure environment and provide an array of services, including health monitoring and occupational and speech therapy. Some centers also offer activities, such as games, arts and crafts and exercise classes. A senior can go every day or a couple times a week as needed.”

According to the CDC, more than 4,100 adult day services centers currently operate in the United States, supporting nearly 240,000 seniors. Costs vary from $25 to $100 per day, with Genworth reporting the average cost at $2,058 per month. But that figure varies widely depending on number of hours of care and whether the senior requires specialized support.

Affordable Senior Housing in an Adult Family Home

It’s sometimes called adult foster care, or adult family care, elderly foster care, small group assisted living – but the term we hear the most is adult family home. “[It] typically involves a home-like facility with paid staff members,” says US News. “Residents receive assistance with daily personal care, medication management, transportation and meal preparation.”

These facilities are generally small, typically housing just a few residents, and usually are in facilities originally built as private homes. Many nursing homes and assisted living communities, by contrast, provide care for dozens or hundreds of people at a time. The homelike atmosphere appeals to many.

“Adult foster care homes are typically administered by the state, so there can be large variation in costs, services and rules depending on where the home is located,” says the article. “Generally, however, they tend to cost less than assisted living, which averages $5,350 per month, and nursing homes, which can cost up to $9,733 per month, according to Genworth.”

Senior Adult Home Care: Is Government Support Available?

Is there help available to cover any of these costs? In some cases, residents might qualify for at least some financial benefits through federal entitlement programs.

Medicare does not cover adult foster care,” the article asserts, “but Medicaid does help with the care portion of the monthly fee.” Veterans might also qualify for some aid to cover costs associated with adult foster care. You’ll find information on the VA’s foster care program here on the Veterans Administration website.

There are also benefits available to veterans and their survivors eligible for a VA pension who are housebound or need care from another person. These benefits fall under the Aid and Attendance and Housebound programs.  We lack the space to cover these here. Monthly benefits for this program can total $2,300 for single veterans and more for couples. We strongly encourage you to contact the Veterans Administration for details.

Affordable Senior Housing in a Senior Apartment

If you drive around a community of any reasonable size, you’ll see a growing number of senior apartments. Some advertise as “55-plus,” some as “62-plus,” but they all have a similar goal: to offer an affordable housing community to aging adults in a supportive environment.

“Senior apartments are ‘a housing option for vulnerable populations, including seniors, disabled persons and low-income residents often managed by local civic authorities, such as a state or county housing authority.’” That’s according to Maine-based retirement consultant Chris Orestis who spoke with Castaneda and Howley for their article.

As US News explains, these communities generally offer many of the same benefits and services as any other independent living community. “However,” says the article, “because they’re earmarked for low-income seniors, there may be additional subsidies, grants and other funding tools available to help offset costs.” These can include

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, which are provided by the federal government to subsidize some expenses for those who qualify.

HUD Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, a program that keeps housing costs at a fixed 30 percent of adjusted income rate for eligible adults age 62 and older.

State- and city-specific rental assistance programs, which can vary widely depending on location. Check with your Area Agency on Aging for more information about what’s available near you.

Affordable Senior Housing: Start with a Thorough Plan

We like the way Castaneda and Howley end their article – by advocating the kind of deeper, more strategic retirement planning that tends to make Rajiv Nagaich smile. The key, we note, is better planning and preparation long before a housing crisis ever materializes.

“If you start early with your preparations for paying for senior care,” the reporters conclude, “you have some other options open to you.” Here’s their three-point summary, quoted verbatim:

Working with an elder law attorney to learn how to protect your assets and navigate complex Medicaid and VA rules.

Working with a financial planner to help you estimate how much money you’ll need in retirement and establish those savings.

Purchasing a long-term care insurance policy that sets aside funds specifically intended to cover the cost of long-term care later in life.

Not a bad set of recommendations, we suggest.

Breaking News: Rajiv’s New Book is Here!

We have big news! The long-awaited book by Rajiv Nagaich, called Your Retirement: Dream or Disaster, has been released and is now available to the public.  As a friend of AgingOptions, we know you’ll want to get your copy and spread the word.

You’ve heard Rajiv say it repeatedly: 70 percent of retirement plans will fail. If you know someone whose retirement turned into a nightmare when they were forced into a nursing home, went broke paying for care, or became a burden to their families – and you want to make sure it doesn’t happen to you – then this book is must-read.

Through stories, examples, and personal insights, Rajiv takes us along on his journey of expanding awareness about a problem that few are willing to talk about, yet it’s one that results in millions of Americans sleepwalking their way into their worst nightmares about aging. Rajiv lays bare the shortcomings of traditional retirement planning advice, exposes the biases many professionals have about what is best for older adults, and much more.

Rajiv then offers a solution: LifePlanning, his groundbreaking approach to retirement planning. Rajiv explains the essential planning steps and, most importantly, how to develop the framework for these elements to work in concert toward your most deeply held retirement goals.

Your retirement can be the exciting and fulfilling life you’ve always wanted it to be. Start by reading and sharing Rajiv’s important new book. And remember, Age On, everyone!

(originally reported at

Need assistance planning for your successful retirement? Give us a call! 1.877.762.4464

Learn how 70% of retirement plan fails and find out how you can avoid this

Find out more about LifePlanning

Your Cart is empty!

It looks like you haven't added any items to your cart yet.

Browse Products
Powered by Caddy
Skip to content