Explore your options for retirement living

When you retire, there are several decisions you’ll need to make. One of the biggest decisions will be choosing where you want to live. Modern retirement living offers more options than ever before.

  • If you’re preparing for retirement, you may be thinking about downsizing or moving to a new location.
  • If you’ve already been retired for a number of years, you may be thinking about moving to a place where you can have some of the chores and home maintenance taken care of.

Many retirees choose to live in a retirement community. This is a great option for those who want to live in a community setting with access to amenities like a gym, a pool and organized outings.

What to consider:

Cost. Not all communities are the same and can vary in price depending on the size of your living area and what kinds of amenities they offer.

Location. Do you want to stay in Washington state, or move somewhere else? Would you like a house or an apartment?

Waitlist. Some locations have a waitlist. It’s important to do your research 1-2 years before you would like to move.

Medical Services. As you get older, you may need more health services available to you. These services may or may not be covered by Medicare or PEBB insurance.

Independent living:

Listed in order from the least amount to most amount of care.

Active adult 55+ communities

These communities are designed for seniors who are still independent and active, typically over the age of 55. They offer a range of amenities and activities such as fitness centers, golf courses, swimming pools, and social clubs. Active adult communities usually provide maintenance-free living options such as townhouses, apartments, or single-family homes.

  • Independent living with minimal access to health services
  • You buy a home or condo in the neighborhood (usually includes monthly HOA fees)
  • Can have amenities like tennis courts, pools and hobby groups
  • Not licensed by the state

CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community)

CCRCs offer a variety of living options and care levels on one campus. This type of community allows seniors to transition from independent living to assisted living and skilled nursing care as their needs change. CCRCs can provide a long-term solution for seniors who want to remain in the same community throughout their retirement years.

  • Independent living with access to health services such as nursing care and memory support if needed
  • You pay a monthly/annual fee to rent or own a home or condo
  • Access to high-quality health care at fees lower than market rates
  • Can have amenities like tennis courts, pools and hobby groups
  • Not licensed by the state
  • Find a CCRC in Washington state  

Assisted living:

Assisted living

These communities are for seniors who require some assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, or medication management. Assisted living communities provide supportive services and care, including meals, housekeeping, transportation, and social activities. These communities can also provide medical care, but residents typically do not require the level of medical attention provided in a nursing home.

  • Staff assumes responsibility for the safety and well-being of the adult.
  • Licensed by the state
  • Seven or more people in a home or facility in a residential neighborhood
  • Provides housing and meals with varying levels of personal care
  • Find an Assisted Living Facility in Washington state

Many of the assisted livings costs are not covered by Medicare.

Due to the increase in care, these communities are much more costly. The national median cost can be over $4,000 per month —according to A Place For Mom, a national company providing elderly care resources.

Calculate the cost of care in your area.

Can you pay for care with health insurance?

PEBB insurance

If you’re a retired public or school employee you have access to insurance options through the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB). These options include medical, vision, and dental and can help you cover basic costs like surgery, prescriptions and doctor visits. It does not cover in-home care or meals. Explore PEBB benefits for retirees.


Medicare has limits on the type of care it will pay for and for how long. For example, Medicare covers only medically “reasonable and necessary” care and does not cover personal care that helps you with things like bathing, dressing, etc.

Medicare can cover some services if you are “homebound.” This generally means you have trouble leaving your home without help (like using a cane, wheelchair or walker).

Medicare doesn’t pay for:

  • 24-hour-a-day care at your home
  • Meals delivered to your home
  • Homemaker services (like shopping and cleaning) that aren’t related to your care plan
  • Custodial or personal care that helps you with daily living activities (like bathing, dressing, or using the bathroom), when this is the only care you need.

Get to know the basics of Medicare

Recent news

Subscribe for more DRS news

More subscription options

Back to Top