The increase in life expectancy and the desire to maintain independence at an advanced age have given rise to new housing solutions for the elderly. More and more active but isolated seniors wish to "age in place" while enjoying a friendly and secure environment with practical and useful services. Senior service residences perfectly address the needs of these new generations of seniors. But how do these establishments work? What are the advantages and limitations of senior service residences? Discover in this article everything you need to know about this mode of living that is increasingly appealing to our seniors.
Today, there are various types of housing for seniors. While nursing homes are designed for elderly people with reduced autonomy or dependency, solutions also exist for independent seniors aged 60 and older who no longer wish to live alone. This is where senior service residences come into play, offering numerous advantages in terms of comfort, services, and safety. Residents have private accommodations and access to communal spaces designed to encourage social interactions. These residences are characterized by the more or less extensive range of services offered to residents, designed to simplify daily life, prevent loss of autonomy, and support aging in place. However, it's essential to note that, unlike nursing homes, senior service residences do not provide medical care.
Senior service residences are becoming increasingly attractive to independent or partially dependent seniors due to the numerous advantages they offer:
- Specially Designed Housing: Senior service residences offer adapted accommodations for sale or rent, ranging from studios to T4 apartments. These accommodations typically feature spacious bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and secure bathrooms compliant with Reduced Mobility Person (RMP) standards. Depending on the residence's level of luxury, apartments may open onto a balcony, terrace, or private garden and may be equipped with home automation technology.
- Friendly Atmosphere: To combat isolation and encourage social interactions, these residences provide seniors with numerous communal living spaces (lounge, library, landscaped terrace, garden, dining room) where they can socialize and enjoy pleasant moments with friends and family. The many activities organized within the residences aim to create bonds among residents and promote healthy aging. Residents can engage in various activities, including gentle gymnastics, memory workshops, board games, painting, choir, and more, all in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
- Practical Services: One of the main advantages of senior service residences lies in the range of services they offer, either included or à la carte. These services aim to simplify seniors' daily lives, allowing them to make the most of their leisure time. Services may include dining, housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping, and minor home repairs. Some senior service residences also offer home care services (usually provided by external providers) to assist seniors with daily activities as needed. Moreover, even though senior service residences are not medical facilities, many of them provide services that support seniors' healthcare journeys, including coordination with medical or paramedical professionals and assistance with medical appointments and medication delivery. The quantity and quality of services vary depending on the residence.
- Secure Environment: Senior service residences employ various means to ensure residents' safety. Many of them equip their accommodations with fall detection systems and emergency call devices to enable residents to contact staff or emergency services 24/7. Some establishments provide residents with an alarm bracelet for rapid assistance, day or night, in case of emergency. This is a significant advantage, considering that nearly 50% of people aged 65 and older have experienced a fall at home.
- Prime Location: Typically situated in residential neighborhoods near transportation, shops, pharmacies, and medical centers, senior service residences enjoy strategic geographic locations that greatly simplify seniors' daily lives. Whether located by the sea, in the city, or in the countryside, these residences offer an ideal living environment that combines tranquility and convenience.
Some senior service residences offer housing for rent, while others offer them for sale. Buying a home in a senior service residence is a real estate investment that offers long-term stability, financial security, and the possibility to personalize the space according to preferences. Moreover, by becoming property owners, seniors create an asset that can be passed down to future generations, which can be an appealing advantage.
On the other hand, renting a home in a senior service residence offers flexibility that can be attractive. Seniors pay rent and optional service fees. If they feel that their accommodation no longer suits their needs, they can move without the hassle of selling the apartment.
Whether to buy or rent a home in a senior service residence depends on personal preferences, financial resources, and long-term visions, with renting being the simpler solution for most seniors.
While senior service residences offer numerous advantages, they also have some limitations:
- Variable Prices: The cost of senior service residences may seem high, considering the sometimes modest incomes of retirees. In the case of renting, residents must pay rent, additional service charges, and optional services they have subscribed to. The price of accommodation in senior service residences varies depending on the luxury level and geographical location of the establishment, as well as the apartment's size and the range of services and activities offered. However, certain financial aids can help reduce the bill.
- Disparate Service Offerings: Not all senior service residences offer the same range of services. While some structures provide only a few basic services (access to communal spaces, catering service, activities), others offer a much wider range (access to a gym and/or pool, spa, transportation, laundry, grocery delivery, home assistance, etc.). Some services are collective, while others are offered on an à la carte basis. Therefore, it's essential to find a residence that offers services tailored to the specific needs of the senior.
Testing Senior Service Residences Before Committing!
Currently, many senior service residences offer "short stays" or "discovery stays" to allow seniors to experience life within their establishment before making a long-term commitment. More informative than a simple visit, this temporary stay allows seniors to experience the residence's offerings from the inside and ensure that the comfort, services, and staff meet their expectations.
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