When to Move into Senior Housing

Here are a few of the signs to look for that might mean that a development for aging adults could be beneficial.

As your loved one gets up in years, you might wonder if it is safe and practical for her to continue living in her home. Many things in modern life have a connection to a specific age, like when you can legally drive or vote. However, there is no set age for when a person should move into a senior living community. It can be hard to know when a person should consider taking this step.

The issue of when to move into senior housing is highly individual. Some people do well staying in their own homes into their nineties or even past the age of 100. Other people are eager to relocate to a development designed with them in mind, with plenty of activities and opportunities to socialize with their peers. It can be refreshing to have someone else do the lawn care and housework. Most people fall somewhere in between these two groups.

Indications that It Might be Time to Consider Senior Housing

Everyone is different, and the decision about moving into senior care should be made by your loved one, possibly with input from close friends and relatives and the senior’s health care professional. Here are a few of the signs to look for that might mean that a development for aging adults could be beneficial. Your loved one is having difficulty:

  • Preparing food,
  • Shopping for groceries and other necessities,
  • Taking his medicine as directed,
  • Maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet,
  • Walking without stumbling or falling,
  • Engaging socially and avoiding isolation, or
  • Dealing with moods and emotions, such as depression, loneliness, sadness and boredom.

If you see any of these signs, you should think about talking with your loved one about the situation. Let her know that you will offer as much help as you can, like helping her get her house ready to sell. Some people get so intimidated about the mountain of work that a move entails, they stay in place, even if they need assistance with daily living tasks.

Let your older relative know about the options available and offer to visit facilities with him. Have a few developments in mind before you have “the talk.” Set up tours at a couple of communities, then find out what he likes and dislikes about each place. Try to find a location where he will be happy and safe. A center with a wide range of care levels can provide more assistance, if he needs it over time.

Misconceptions About Senior Housing

When your aging loved one was younger, senior housing meant the nursing home or rest home. As a result, many older Americans adamantly refuse to even talk about moving into a senior living community. People would likely be more receptive to considering senior housing, if they realized that today’s facilities can include:

  • Apartments, condominiums, and attached housing units with multiple bedrooms, plenty of square footage and attractive architecture.
  • Your choice of a variety of care levels, from completely independent to not having to lift a finger, because someone else does all the cooking, cleaning and lawn maintenance.
  • Developments on golf courses, with swimming pools, tennis courts, hiking trails and many other amenities.

Be sure to talk with an elder law attorney near you about this article and any insights she or he may have.


A Place for Mom. “When is the Right Time to Move?” (accessed April 14, 2019) https://www.aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/when-is-the-right-time-to-move

Suggested Key Terms: the right time to move into assisted living, when you should move into a nursing home

About the author

Bob Brumfield

Attorney Bob Brumfield has been practicing law since 1984 and regularly receives the “Top Lawyers in California” award as well as the “Client Distinction” and “Client Champion” awards from Martindale-Hubbell.

Skip to content