Last week we wrote about our nation’s senior housing crisis — one out of six people over the age of 65 living below the federally established poverty line, and the waiting list for subsidized housing in our own backyard and across the country ranging from 12 to 24 months. Today, we’ll look at some possible solutions.
• Aging in place: Instead of moving to senior housing, an elderly individual’s current residence is adapted so that it can be used safely for a much longer period of time. In some cases, this might be as easy as turning a first-floor half bath into a full bath and/or relocating the laundry facility to a more accessible place in the home.
• Block grant money: Public policy needs to be modified so that community block grant money and deferred loans can be diverted into projects that allow low-income homeowners to retrofit their homes to live there safely and in comfort.
• Shared housing. A shared housing center pre-screens and matches people within the community who can share expenses and household duties.
• Embrace the village concept. Senior “villages” decrease isolation and allow seniors to maximize their resources by sharing services such as transportation.
The problem in America is complex and grows greater on a daily basis, but it’s obvious that change is definitely needed … and soon! Let’s hope our leaders are paying attention.
Did you know we have a senior housing crisis in this country? Here’s the dilemma: The number of Americans over the age of 65 grows by 10,000 every day, one out of six people over the age of 65 are living below the federally established poverty line, and the waiting list for subsidized housing in our own backyard and across the country is often 12 to 24 months!
Houston, we have a problem.
Subsidized housing eligibility is determined by income level and qualifying limits are $23,150 for a single person and $26,450 for a two-person household. That’s not much to live on, yet it’s not uncommon. In fact, many seniors at this income level are just barely getting by.
The need for affordable housing is further complicated by the accompanying need for accessibility that comes with advancing age and deteriorating physical abilities.
To sum things up, we have many elders living alone in poverty with no way out except for housing programs that have very long wait times. Next week, we’ll offer some possible solutions and answers. Stay tuned!
Are you ready for a number that will truly knock your socks off? The National Institute on Aging reports that the number of individuals age 85 and over will increase from 3.5 million in 1994 to 14 million by 2040!
The real estate world has already been in reaction mode for several years, coming up with ideas like the “elder cottage” concept, or ECHO (Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity). Basically, the idea is to provide a small, detached structure that can be temporarily or permanently installed on the same lot when a primary caregiver resides.
While these units can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 and typically provide 400 to 800 square feet of living space, the recapture of the expense can occur rather quickly when you consider that living expenses in an assisted living or nursing home situation could easily cost thousands of dollars per month.
These structures are often better received in less densely populated areas, where zoning issues are less stringent. For example, a pilot program in the Ithaca, N.Y. area allowed eligible seniors to rent 672-square-foot dwellings provided they are installed adjacent to the residence of a primary caregiver. The property owner is responsible for utility installation and the county government delivers and maintains the dwelling in exchange for a rental payment that is subsidized by government support.
While 2040 may seem like a long way off, it’s reassuring to know that plans are already underway to accommodate this unique demographic!
Have you heard the term “active adult community,” or AAC for short? Active adult communities are springing up with great popularity across the nation and tend to cater to the Baby Boomer generation — those 55 and up. But what’s makes them such an attractive housing alternative?
For starters, these are not retirement communities. In fact, they tend to attract a large percentage of residents who still enjoy working. Many of the homes also feature the added benefit of office space.
Other AAC amenities typically include group events, outdoor activities such as hiking and exercise classes, and many other gatherings geared toward an active lifestyle. The homes that make up the community are energy efficient and modern, often one story and laid out in a way that allows residents to age in place and remain independent. AACs also have a community center where residents can take part in organized events, and most feature gyms, tennis courts and pools. Additionally, most AACs are located close to major metropolitan areas for the convenience of residents.
You can expect to see rapid growth in this type of specialized housing over the next decade as our aging demographic continues to impact the real estate landscape.