Finding a place for seniors has become a big business. Children are searching for a reasonably priced place to put their parents. These are the children of parents who, for whatever reason, have found themselves unable to live in their homes or in the grand places provided for people with money. Many of the parents have no income except their Social Security. The Government funded apartment seems to be the answer.
Beware!! The Government funded apartments for seniors are not all equal in quality, even though they are equally funded. I know because I am living in one of the sub-standard apartments; one that charges the government a huge amount of money that goes to the property management company and owners and provides sub-standard living for the residents. I had not been exposed to such facilities so I did not know anything about them. When I returned to my home town and found rentals quite high, I applied at one of these apartment complexes. Based on my experience, I thought I would share what problems I have found.
Below I have listed what to do when searching government funded facilities.
Take an extended tour – not just in the public places but also in the halls, parking lots, laundry rooms, community rooms, etc. These private places will show you how and with whom you or your parent will really be living.
- Look for evidence of water leaks; are the floors warped or are the carpets in the hallways stained from water damage; look up at the ceilings to see if there are water leaks there. Look for mildew or discolored areas, indicating problems.
- Check the walls and floors in different hallways for cleanliness and fresh paint.
- If there are elevators, check them out, preferably without anyone else one them. Are the floors stained or dirty; are the ceilings clean. And in my apartment complex – has someone peed in it?
- Is the heat or air conditioning the same in all areas, both common and private?
- Check the parking lot and look at the cars parked there. Are they junk cars; are they leaking fluids; are they registered and up to date with tags?
- Check the grounds. Are there liquor bottles and beer cans, food, fruit rinds, etc. littering the place?
- Is the outside, both front and back clean and well kept. In my case the front is presentable, but the back is a totally different – filthy and no maintained well.
- Look at the residents as you tour and see if they look unwashed; also check to see if they smell bad or appear drunk or on drugs. Yes, old people smoke crack and abuse alcohol.
- Drive by during the day on weekends. Management is usually off and you can see what goes on outside without their supervision to keep them on the straight and narrow.
- Make several of these visits before you sign on the dotted line, because problems you see will not be solved after you or your loved one is a resident.
I am so sorry that I have spent one of my valuable last years in substandard housing. My time left is precious and I will not live like this much longer. I am moving to one of those subsidized places that are %1000 better than the one I am in now. My apartment now is owned by what I call a “slumlord.” You know the term – makes tons of money from the poor on his/her substandard property.
Sorry for the tirade, but it is necessary for this to be out there to help all elderly people live good, safe lives. We older people deserve it.