Ask Joan: Housing Options
July 10, 2023

Question: I retired a few years ago and planned on staying in my apartment. However, I am having some difficulty being able to afford it. I would like to remain as independent as possible, but I live on Social Security and a small amount of savings. What housing options are there?

Answer: Many people look forward to retirement but may be surprised by the lifestyle changes that can accompany it, including increased rent or mortgages as well as other expenses. You are not alone in seeking different options.

Joan Hatem-Roy, CEO of AgeSpan

Check local real estate listings in online and print publications. You may consider having a roommate to share expenses if your apartment includes a spare bedroom. At AgeSpan, we can review your housing options, free of charge. One of our care managers can work with you to explore what’s available in the area we serve. Some possibilities include:

Assisted living facilities offer a private, apartment-style setting with 24-hour monitoring and support. These settings provide help with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, grooming), meal preparation, housework, laundry, and transportation. Certified by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, their cost can vary, depending upon your need for supplemental services.

Congregate housing provides independent living with supplemental services, within public housing. Residents have their own bedrooms and sometimes share a bathroom, kitchen, and living/gathering space. This choice suits people who enjoy the companionship and socialization of their peers but do not require 24-hour monitoring or care. Many provide meal preparation, home care services, and transportation for an additional fee. Most congregate housing sites range from four to 20 units in size.

Adult housing is managed by local housing authorities or private companies. To live in these properties, people must be older adults or people with disabilities and meet the required income guidelines. The amount of rent they pay is based on their income. Residents can arrange to receive a variety of support services if they need these.

Supportive housing provides older adults and others with the opportunity to live in a public or private setting with independence and safety. A Resident Service Coordinator is available on-site to help manage any supports people need. Some residents may also qualify for home care services. A team of care managers and nurses works closely with caregivers, families, and community agencies to coordinate and monitor care plans to meet eligible residents’ needs. AgeSpan partners with 10 supportive sites.

Be aware that many housing sites, public and private, have lengthy waiting lists. Some settings take years before an opening occurs, so act as soon possible to focus your choices.

Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at for more information. You can also call us at 800-892-0890 or email Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of AgeSpan.

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