We’re pleased to welcome back Joy Loverde, author of The Complete Eldercare Planner. If you recall, she joined us last year for a post sharing her favorite resources for active aging, and this time, she’s back to talk about boomer housing options. They’re not what they used to be!
Just as the 76 million Baby Boomers have redefined every other stage of life from college to careers, we are now redefining and remaking the concept of living arrangements. Developers take note. No cookie-cutter “senior” housing approach for us.
While many Boomers will simply downsize, others will go straight to some flavor of housing that appeals to their lifestyle. This shift in how we think about living spaces has everything to do with the mindset that we have places to go and things to do no matter what physical shape our bodies are in.
We have proven over a lifetime that we are a generation that expects to stay involved in living. With that in mind, here are a few housing and lifestyle options to consider:
The ever-popular concept of staying put may require remodeling the home. Ground-level laundry rooms and walk-in showers, for example, help keep aging residents mobile and safe. National Association of Home Builders offers access to Certified Aging-in Place Specialists. When in-home caregiving services are needed contact The Eldercare Locator.
Some people love living alone. If you’re not one of them, consider a home-mate. Sharing space with others solves a multitude of problems financially and otherwise, and may make it easier to go through difficult life stages together. Check out Sharing Housing and the National Shared Housing Resource Center.
Neighborhoods connected by membership organizations offer another way to stay connected. From transportation and bookkeeping to changing light bulbs, members pay an annual fee in return for services. Members also have opportunities to volunteer to help other members. Win-win. To locate a village visit The Village to Village Network.
Active Adult Community
Home owners over the age of 55 enjoy maintenance-free living and social activities. In addition to the cost of the home, residents pay association fees. Some communities promote a resort or vacation feel through activities and amenities, while others emphasize social or cultural lifestyle. Visit Senior Homes.com for more information.
Too many cooks in the kitchen and fighting over the thermostat setting, among other lifestyle issues, can make living under the same roof challenging. If the idea of adding backyard housing appeals to you and your neighborhood is zoned for temporary mobile housing units, start searching for options by conducting the following keyword search: auxiliary dwelling units; in-law cottages; granny pod; and elder cottage.
Communities of homes on shared land that residents build and operate themselves may appeal to you if you don’t mind the constant interaction of working with neighbors. Residents participate in nearly all the decision-making – from designing homes and landscaping to planning meals and social events. Building a strong sense of community and friendship is the foundation of this lifestyle. Check out CoHousing Association of the United States.
These days the term “mobile home” has new meaning. From motor homes to large recreational vehicles, Boomer nomads are traveling the states without a permanent home – some seek work and volunteer opportunities while others look for fun in the sun. Living on a cruise ship is another mobile lifestyle option. Cruisers enjoy restaurants, movies, casinos, driving ranges, spas, room service, and more. Check out Recreation Vehicle Industry Association for information on RVs.
About Joy: Joy Loverde’s best-selling book, The Complete Eldercare Planner reflects the depth of her understanding for the needs of older Americans. Joy’s media credits include the Today Show, CBS Early Show, CNN, and National Public Radio among others. Joy also serves as a consultant and spokesperson for corporations, professional advisors, associations, healthcare organizations, senior housing, manufacturers, and other members of the fast-growing mature-market industry. Find Joy on her website: www.elderindustry.com.