Where to live? That’s a question seniors may face two or three times as they age. Here at Common Sense for Seniors, we’ll be returning to this question often, because it’s such a complicated issue.
AARP tells us that the majority of seniors want to stay right where they are, aging in place in the homes and communities where they’ve always lived. But the home they’re in at retirement may not always meet their needs, Mobility issues might one day make it hard to get upstairs, and household chores will likely be more of a challenge at 80 than at 65.
The communities we’re in may not be the best fit either. Some retirees want or need part-time work, which isn’t available everywhere. Later on, they might value the services a senior center, which can make life easier and more enjoyable. Not every community has one. Seniors aging in rural areas face special problems. Doctor visits, shopping, and other essential services can require long drives. Internet connections may be too slow to allow them to stream the films and shows they finally have time to watch.
Anyway, not everyone wants to age in place. Some long for a college town, or a warmer climate. Some want to be entirely free of yard work. Some hope never to cook again. Some seek a place where they can walk to shops, the library, and the post office.
The housing choices cover a wide range. Should one rent or buy a traditional home, or perhaps a condo? How about a home in an active adult community, tailored for the needs of people over 55? Or you could opt for co-housing, by purchasing a small private home in a community that emphasizes sustainability, diversity, and sharing. An independent senior living community, with dining facilities and a full schedule of daily programs, might seem like overkill at 62, but very attractive at 78.
So much to think about!
For a start, try browsing “Best Cities for Successful Aging,” compiled by the Center for the Future of Aging at the Milken Institute. The interactive website ranks large and small metropolitan areas on a variety of criteria of interest to seniors, ages 65-79 and 80+.
Iowa City, here we come.