Assisted Living & Senior Living in U.S.

Congregate Housing & Care

Congregate Housing & Care for Seniors

What is congregate housing and care?

Congregate housing is defined as an environment that’s designed to cater for the housing needs of seniors and disabled persons. Congregate care refers to caring for people in a congregated setting. Residents of congregate care facilities have private apartments but share a common dining room, kitchen facilities, and other amenities. The purpose of this housing arrangement is to allow seniors to continue living an independent life although assisted with such tasks like cooking. Unlike other housing arrangements for seniors, this senior living option does not offer around the clock care. A congregate care specialist could be employed to help residents manage their daily chores. Below are some of the congregate care specialist's responsibilities.

The duties of a congregate housing coordinator include:

Supervise the activities of various service providers or departments. These include catering, gardening, and maintenance. If residents are encountering problems with the amenities in their housing, they will normally consult the congregate care specialist for repairs.

Help new residents develop plans and collaborate with other service networks. Congregate living requires cooperation from the residents who collectively assume responsibilities like cleaning of shared spaces, preparing meals, and contributing to cover common expenses.

A coordinator also markets their scheme, oversees the application and screening process, and admits new residents.

Like stated before, residents in congregate care facilities live independently without being monitored.  The coordinator / specialist therefore has to organize for emergency response services and ensure that the premises are secure.

The specialist is also responsible for helping residents adopt to a group living situation in congregate care communities. They stay around to settle disputes if any should arise.

Eligibility requirements for congregate housing

To be part of a congregate housing program, the interested individual is required to apply to their local housing authority. The criteria requires residents to be at least 60 years of age and capable of affording congregate care. In most situations, residents are referred to congregate housing by medical institutions, relatives, and housing agencies. After applying, the coordinator evaluates the applicants needs and uses the information in their application letter to determine if they are suitable for group living. If you are a senior who is above 60 years of age or you are a younger individual with a disability, you should easily be accepted to any congregate housing plan. Below is a summary of the conditions you need to meet.

  • An applicant should be a senior who is 62 years or older or otherwise disabled.
  • Be in need of assistance with daily living.
  • Be capable of interacting with other people or living in a group.  

Extended Congregate Care

Senior citizens are able to access extended congregate care from dedicated housing facilities who offer it. Extended congregate care is generally offered through assisted living facilities, and only by those who have a dedicated license to offer extended congregate housing. Not all assisted living facilities can offer congregate care. Those facilities that do have an ECC license may allocate a specific portion of their housing complex to provided extended congregate care, while another portion stays dedicated to non-congregate assisted living.

Benefits of congregate housing and care

First of all, congregate housing is an affordable option bearing in mind that it is subsidized by state governments. In fact, the core purpose of establishing congregate housing plans is to support low income seniors who need help with daily chores like preparing meals, housekeeping, and cleaning. Depending on their income, a resident can ask for a subsidy from their state if they are not able to meet the contributions that are needed to support group living.

Congregate housing provides a viable option for lonely seniors who are looking for companionship. Often, retired individuals experience difficulties finding people to interact with. The environment at congregate housing fosters interaction. Tasks like preparing meals and cleaning shared spaces are approached collectively and provide opportunities for building relationships. Generally, living as a group helps seniors build on their character by keeping them occupied.

Congregate care is also a good option for seniors who are too fit to be staying in nursing communities or retirement homes. As stated earlier, this type of plan allows people to live independently. It means that an individual can continue living their old life in a new environment where they are not overwhelmed by home maintenance. The primary reason why the elderly are referred to senior housing options is because as they advance in age, they develop physical limitations that make tasks like mowing too difficult.

Is congregate housing the best option for seniors?

Just because you meet all the conditions needed to be a resident in a congregate housing care facility does not mean it’s your best choice. For instance, you have to look into the interests of your spouse if he or she is still living. Most of the seniors you find in congregate housing have lost their spouse and cite loneliness as the core reason which caused them to relocate.

It is important to evaluate your interests. While it might seem like a good prospect at first, group living eventually proves difficult for some people. If you have problems working as part of a team, you might want to reconsider your options unless you anticipate that living in this kind of environment is going to prompt a positive change in your life.

Health is another factor that should never be overlooked when weighing senior housing options. If you are interested in congregate living, check your health first. You could be capable of independent living at the moment but highly susceptible to conditions that need 24 hour care. It is true that you will find disabled people in congregate housing, but does your current physical condition allow for some level of independency?

Think about your monetary options. You might have met the financial conditions necessary to be a resident of congregate housing but it’s important to review your budget and priorities. For instance, will you have enough money to support yourself for the remaining years of your life? Remember that you might eventually need to relocate to an assisted living facility or nursing home or adopt other senior care options if you grow too old to cope with life in congregate housing.

Tips for choosing a congregate housing plan

As a senior, you are living through your sunset years. If possible, you would like to retire and live in the best conditions ever. Before relocating to a congregate housing apartment complex, visit several of them. A few factors you will be checking upon include landscaping, apartment or house design, and available amenities. Check on the activities too to see if your interests are catered for. A good congregate living institution should also cater for dietary restrictions or preferences. In other words, you want high quality food even though it’s going to be prepared collectively.