I live in an older neighborhood where most of the homes were built in the mid 1950’s to early 1960’s. There are a few original owners left, though many younger families have arrived in recent years. I love the quirkiness of our HOA-less neighborhood and the cast of characters that reside in it; but best of all, I love the sense of community that exists among us residents. Like the time 70-year-old Dottie bought a bunch of balloons to celebrate Betty’s 90th birthday and Wallace’s concrete gnome that gets redecorated for each holiday. Most recently, there were handmade yard signs up and down the street encouraging Stan as he recovers from major surgery.
One thing I can say about my neighborhood is that our seniors show little desire to move to a retirement community. And this is not unique to Hunterwood. According to a study conducted by AARP, “82 percent of Americans choose to age in place, within the same communities where they have lived. Every community, from rural areas to suburbs to cities, will include significant numbers of older adults.”
Businesses, local governments and non-profits are responding to this new trend. In 2001, in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, the first “Elder Village” was created by several residents who desired to age in place. Also called intentional communities or virtual retirement communities, these volunteer-based organizations provide services from transportation and grocery delivery to home repairs and dog walking.
On the technology front, several gadgets, apps and gizmos have surfaced aimed at our aging population. These new technologies go way beyond the Clapper and Life Alert! The camera-less monitoring device, Sonamba, was developed by Durham, NC based pomdevices, LLC. According to the company, “Sonamba periodically sends seniors’ wellbeing status alerts to caregivers and includes senior-oriented Activity of Daily Living Monitoring, Personal Emergency Response, Medication & Calendar Reminders, Social Communications and Games.” Another product, BeClose is an age in place technology that uses wireless sensors placed in the home to track a senior’s well being.
I am sure there are many reasons people opt to age in place, but certainly cost plays a big part in their decision. According to a 2010 study conducted by the National Investment Center for Senior Housing and Care Industry, the average entrance fee for a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) unit is $249,857. Once you are in, monthly fees for a single occupancy unit will cost $2500 and up each month, depending on the contract type.
The burgeoning Age-in-Place industry is working hard to develop products and services geared toward serving our seniors, and that’s great news for those who want to age-in-place.
Tracy Allen, CFP®