The future of senior housing

It’s hardly surprising that a recent American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) report found that 83 percent of those aged 55 to 64 want to remain in their own home as long as possible.

The American population is aging. By 2030, nearly one in five U.S. residents will be over 65. With the cost of homes, condominiums and apartments rising, the question becomes where do seniors live? Fortunately, there are viable options.

One in-vogue option is the creation of “In-law Suites.” This could include the installation of railings, soft flooring, medication reminders and various alert systems in an existing dwelling; or the space could be completely detached from the primary residence by its own bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

Another developing trend is Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC). Members can join for an annual fee, typically around $1,000. In turn they are provided a range of services and activities from discount health care services, handy men, computer technicians, and money managers, to grocery shopping and a host of other services. A volunteer on-call labor force is often available in these communities.

There is also Collaborative Housing or “Co-Housing,” which is a small clustered community of either attached units or single-family homes with common facilities and outdoor space. Not only is self-reliance reinforced, collaborative housing encourages interaction with neighbors and the building of social relationships.