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This glossary includes various types of housing arrangements for senior citizens.  Some options listed may not be available at this time, but are listed here for your reference.  For more information on housing options, contact your local Area Agency on Aging/Aging & Disability Resource Connection (ADRC), local housing authority or other housing resources listed in the Department of Community Affairs' Guide to Affordable Housing in New Jersey, or a licensed realtor.

ACCESSORY APARTMENTS are units, which have been added onto, or created within, a single-family house. The eating, bathing, and sleeping areas are separate from those in the main dwelling. Generally, children, close relatives, or friends of the older person occupy one of the structures. This option is advantageous primarily because of its economic, social, and security benefits. It allows older persons to live independently, but close to people who care about them. Accessory apartments are often referred to as "mother‑daughter homes."  Areas must be zoned for accessory apartments or the property owner must obtain a variance from zoning regulations. Regulations vary among municipalities but usually are concerned with health and safety standards, as well as maintenance of the basic character of the neighborhood. These regulations can often be satisfied by using designated minimum floor areas for the apartments and observing any off‑street parking requirements.

ADULT FAMILY CARE (AFC) homes offer individuals who are no longer able to live alone the opportunity to move in and share the home of a caretaker who is capable of providing needed assistance and supervision. AFC provides a home-like environment where participation in the family and community are encouraged. These homes are supervised by a "sponsor agency", which has been licensed by the Department of Health. The individual has the right to participate in the planning of their treatment, access shared areas of the house such as the kitchen and living room, and to make choices with respect to services and life-styles. An integral component of adult family care is the emphasis on providing a uniquely individualized approach to care and promotion of an individual's sense of autonomy, privacy, and self-esteem.

ADULT RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES are specifically designed for active, independent older people. Units are generally for purchase, but occasionally rental units are available. These units may be in the form of single houses, duplexes, condominiums, or garden apartments. Adult retirement communities usually provide social and recreational activities, i.e., clubhouse, tennis, golf, swimming, etc., and limited services, such as transportation. Generally there are no extensive medical or nursing services available, although some communities have begun to arrange for such services. A manager is usually responsible for the general maintenance and upkeep of the community. A monthly fee is generally charged for these services. The resident pays property taxes, as well. The usual entrance age for most communities is 55 years or older. These facilities are registered with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

AFFORDABLE/SUBSIDIZED HOUSING can be rentals or for purchase. All affordable housing units are priced to be affordable to households making 80 percent or less of the county median income. Many have been built in response to successful lawsuits by developers after a court found that a municipality was not providing legally required affordable housing opportunities. The original court ruling pertained to a case in Mt. Laurel, NJ. The Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), 609-292‑3000, was established to assist municipalities in determining their need for low‑ and moderate‑income housing. The Department of Community Affairs assists municipalities to market and monitor their affordable housing projects. Either one of these agencies can be contacted to obtain information about affordable housing in New Jersey communities.

ASSISTED LIVING RESIDENCES (ALR) are licensed by the Department of Health. These are community-based facilities offering a special mix of housing, personalized support services, and health care designed to promote maximum independence and dignity for each resident. Staff is available 24 hours a day. These facilities promote "aging in place."  These facilities have apartment‑style housing, rooms, and congregate dining. Assisted living services are available when needed. Apartment units offer, at a minimum, one unfurnished room, a private bathroom, a kitchenette, and a lockable door on the unit entrance. These facilities may also provide rooms, three meals per day, personal assistance, 24‑hour security, recreation activities, and some may provide supervision of medication and limited health services. Rooms and baths may be either private or shared. These facilities can be either private or Medicaid providers. For more information about assisted living facilities see BOARDING HOMES, MULTI‑LEVEL FACILITIES, RESIDENTIAL HEALTH CARE FACILITIES and SHARED LIVING RESIDENCES in this glossary. See also ASSISTED LIVING PROGRAMS (ALP).

BOARDING HOMES differ by type of home for older adults in New Jersey. Class A boarding homes provide only rooms and baths, but no other services. Class B and Class C boarding homes provide rooms, baths, linens and meals. Rooms and baths may be either private or shared. In addition, Class C homes provide 24‑hour supervision and personal and financial services, including monitoring of self‑administered medications. Other services, such as transportation to medical appointments, may also be provided. All homes are licensed by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. People interested in boarding homes may wish to consider the SHARED LIVING RESIDENCES option. People needing more health services may wish to consider RESIDENTIAL HEALTH CARE FACILITIES.

COMPREHENSIVE PERSONAL CARE HOMES (CPCH) are facilities licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health to provide room and board and to assure that assisted living services are available when needed, to four or more adults unrelated to the proprietor. Units are often double occupancy and have a shared bathroom. Residential units in comprehensive personal care homes house no more than two residents and have a lockable door on the unit entrance. Assisted living services are defined as a coordinated array of supportive personal and health services, available 24 hours per day, to residents who have been assessed to need these services, including residents who require formal long‑term care (nursing home care). Assisted living services promote resident self-direction and participation in decisions that emphasize independence, individuality, privacy, and dignity, in homelike surroundings.

CONGREGATE APARTMENT HOUSING is specially designed multi‑unit housing for independent to semi‑independent people, and includes community social and dining facilities. Individual living units include, at minimum, a living room/bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette. Developments offer at least one hot meal per day and some housekeeping services. Transportation and personal assistance services may also be available. Service fees may be included in the rent or billed separately.

Currently, New Jersey does not license congregate apartment housing. Congregate apartment housing can be part of a multi‑level facility or can stand on its own. Both market‑rate and subsidized facilities can offer congregate apartment housing. In this glossary, see MULTI‑LEVEL FACILITIES and SUBSIDIZED APARTMENTS FOR THE ELDERLY.

CONTINUING-CARE RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES [CCRC] provides housing, services, and health care, including nursing home care, to people of retirement age. The community must provide a continuum of care to meet the needs of individual residents, beginning with independent living through skilled nursing care. Continuing-care retirement communities offer a contract that is signed when the person first enters the community. The contract will define the type of housing and services to be provided. Meals, housekeeping, linens, 24‑hour security, and recreational services are usually provided. There is generally a substantial entrance fee (ranging from $40,000 to over $200,000) that guarantees shelter and access to various health care services, whether these services are pre-funded or provided on a fee‑for‑service basis. Monthly fees are also charged. CCRCs are regulated by the New Jersey Department of Community of Affairs, telephone 609-633-3888.

ELDER COTTAGE HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES [ECHO UNITS] is a small, removable modular cottage put on a concrete foundation/slab or treated wood foundation in a back or side yard of a home. The unit is specifically designed to meet the needs of older or disabled people. This type of arrangement permits an older person to live independently, but close to people who are concerned about them. The cottages vary in size, starting with efficiency units. Larger units can contain one or two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, kitchen, and eating area. ECHO units are connected to the utilities of the primary dwelling and can be fashioned to match or complement the main house. The unit is designed to be removed when it is no longer being used. There are builders who specialize in this type of housing.  Zoning changes may be necessary to permit the use of this type of temporary housing in residential neighborhoods. Units can be bought or leased. In certain New Jersey communities, the units are owned by a governmental agency and rented to community residents.  This option is currently not available in New Jersey.

HOME SHARING is a living arrangement in which two or more unrelated people share the common areas of a house, e.g., the living room, kitchen and often bathrooms, but each person has private sleeping space. Home sharing can take place when a homeowner rents bedrooms to other people or it can involve two or more unrelated people who rent or own a home together. Another home sharing arrangement takes places in a shared living residence in which a nonprofit organization sponsors a home which houses usually from five to fifteen people. The home sharers can be in the same age category or can be from different generations. To assist individuals who want to home share, some nonprofit organizations sponsor match‑up programs. Consult SHARED LIVING RESIDENCES in this glossary for further information.  For more information, go to

 contain spaces where manufactured housing units may be located and hooked‑up to utilities such as water, electricity, and heat. Generally a person owns his or her unit and rents the space from the mobile home park. Mobile home parks can be age restricted for people who are 55 years of age or older.

MULTI‑LEVEL FACILITIES refer to a number of types of residences that provide two or more levels of service. These levels range from independent living, to facilities with different types of supportive services, to skilled nursing care. Multi‑level facilities usually do not offer contract agreements pertaining to moving from one level of care to another, nor do they usually charge a substantial entrance fee. However, priority to move to another level of care is usually given to residents already living in some part of the development. Board and Care and residential health care units within a multi-level facility are regulated by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Assisted living units and skilled nursing care units are regulated by the New Jersey Department of Health, Division of Health Facilities Evaluation and Licensing, 609-633-9051.

NURSING HOMES are residential facilities that provide 24‑hour supervision by licensed nurses. This care must be prescribed by a physician. Emphasis is on medical care, supplemented by physical, occupational, speech and other types of therapies. Personal care services, such as help with meals, bathing, dressing and grooming, are also provided along with social services, religious services, and recreational activities. A nursing facility offers care for individuals suffering from chronic diseases or conditions that do not require the constant attention of physicians. Services are provided which address the individual's personal care and social‑emotional needs.  Nursing homes are licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health, Division of Health Facilities Evaluation and Licensing, telephone 609-633-9042.

 are facilities that provide health maintenance and monitoring services under the direction of a professional nurse. They provide a room, meals, linens, housekeeping, personal assistance, personal laundry, 24‑hour security, financial management, and recreation activities, as well as supervision of medication and limited health services. Rooms and baths may be private or shared. Most services are included in the rent, but some may be purchased separately. These facilities provide a home-like atmosphere and services while encouraging independence and assuring safety.  These facilities are licensed, regulated and inspected by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

SHARED LIVING RESIDENCES are homes in which unrelated people live together. The residence may be owned cooperatively, sponsored by a nonprofit organization, or owned or managed by a person who continues to reside there. Each person has a private bedroom, but bathrooms may be either private or shared. All other spaces in the house are shared. A residence generally accommodates five to fifteen residents who furnish and clean their own rooms. A volunteer or paid manager is usually responsible for overall maintenance, housekeeping, shopping, and dinner preparation. Breakfast and lunch may be prepared individually. Most group residences are licensed as Class B or Class C boarding homes.

SUBSIDIZED APARTMENTS FOR THE ELDERLY are rental units, generally in the form of garden apartments or apartments in high‑rise or mid‑rise buildings. The units have been specially designed for, and are limited to, people who are at least 62 years old or have a disability. Construction or rental costs are financed by the local, state, or federal government. Sponsors of this housing include nonprofit or limited profit organizations or public housing authorities. There are income limitations for eligibility for this type of housing, and the rents are usually subsidized, with the amount of rent based upon the income of the household. There are usually lengthy waiting lists for this housing. Occasionally, it is possible to find a CONGREGATE HOUSING SERVICES PROGRAM  and ASSISTED LIVING PROGRAM available within some subsidized housing settings.  In some buildings, recreational activities and support services such as meals, housekeeping, or transportation are provided. Fees for services may be included in the rent or charged separately. Lists of senior citizen subsidized housing in each county can be obtained from the Department of Community Affairs website.

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