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Everyone shares concerns about caring for their parents, grandparents, and loved ones as they reach retirement age and beyond. In Massachusetts there are public and private housing options that address seniors’ different needs, from independent living and active senior communities to assisted living, continuing care, and nursing homes.

Assisted Living

Affordable assisted living is public housing that provides support services to low-income seniors who cannot live on their own. Assisted Living Residences (ALRs) offer support for seniors who need daily help with activities such as bathing, dressing, or eating, but who do not need full-time nursing care. To find an ALR in your area, contact your local Aging Services Access Point (ASAP) or call Elder Affairs’ Information and Resources unit at (800) 243-4636.

Supportive Housing

Supportive housing is public housing that provides on-site support services for seniors, including health care, education, social support, transportation, 24-hour emergency services, referrals, and job-training programs. Residents have 24-hour access to services in their homes, similar to an assisted living facility. Depending on income and need, residents may qualify for free case management and support services through the Home Care Program. Those interested can apply for supportive housing at their local housing agency or Aging Services Access Point (ASAP).

Congregate Housing

Congregate housing is public, multi-unit housing with support services for eligible seniors who do not want to live alone. By offering each resident a private bedroom or apartment, a shared living space, and activities, this type of housing combines privacy and companionship. Support services — including meals, transportation, housekeeping, building security, and social activities – help residents remain independent. Residents can apply for congregate housing at their local housing agency or Aging Services Access Point (ASAP).

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) are a private housing option that offer the convenience of having healthcare and support services in one location where seniors can easily transition from one residential care setting to another. CCRCs charge an entrance fee as well as a monthly fee and provide a mix of independent- and assisted-living services, as well as nursing home care. Residents can get more information from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs at (617) 727-7750 or by visiting a CCRC in their area.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are public facilities that offer long-term and short-term options for people who need 24-hour skilled nursing care. These homes provide a range of services including, meals, social activities, assistance with everyday tasks, and rehabilitation. All nursing homes in Massachusetts are licensed by the Department of Public Health (DPH). Before choosing a nursing home, residents are encouraged to visit the facility for a tour, to ask questions, and to review a performance report.

In order to ensure that one’s golden years are truly treasured, it’s important to match a senior’s needs with a home or residential facility tailored to suit them. Whether that’s as simple as receiving help to prepare meals or a community to socialize with, or a greater need such as 24-hour care, choosing a senior living residence for yourself or a loved one can be one of the most important decisions one makes.

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