Tag Archives: independent living

Taking the Longview

Patio homes at Longview

Patio homes at Longview

Common Sense for Seniors staff have been taking a look at Longview, over in Ithaca, just as an example of the kind of place we might think about moving to in our more senior years.

Longview is a popular spot. At the moment, there are no vacancies in the twenty-two patio homes, where seniors live independently, and very little available among the 100 independent-living apartments. This isn’t surprising in view of everything Longview has to offer, including a pool, walking paths, the opportunity to take courses at Ithaca College (just across the street), and a full range of activities every day.

But is it affordable? We often have seniors tell us they could never afford to live in such a place, so let’s take a look at the financial side.

One of the great things about Longview is that there is no big upfront enrollment fee. The patio homes and apartments are simple rentals. A two bedroom apartment for two people goes for $4,850 per month, but a studio for a single person can be had for just $1,918. When you think of all that’s included, such as a full slate of activities, rides to shopping, and one meal a day — plus all the bills that no longer have to be paid for things like property taxes, heat, electricity, and snow removal — rents at Longview are a pretty good deal.

If the time comes when we’ll need assisted living, that’s also available at Longview at $3,387 for a standard single; but someone on Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) would pay just $1,225. (Enhanced Assisted Living is also available and provides just about everything you might expect at a nursing home, except for re-hab.)

The reality is that if we put our minds to it, many of us seniors could come up with a financial package that would enable us to live at Longview or a comparable facility. If we take into account our Social Security, pension, retirement savings, and whatever nest egg we might have from the sale of the house, there could well be more available than we think.

Someone whose income is too limited for a place like Longview could look around for a HUD-backed senior living facility, such as Penn Yan’s marvelous St. Mark’s Terrace. St. Mark’s offers many of the benefits to be found at Longview for rents starting a less than $400 per month.

An independent financial planner or elder attorney can help folks who are uncertain about what they can afford or about what sort of aid is available. For example, the Elder Law and Medicaid Planning service at the firm of Lacey Katzen in Rochester offers to develop a care plan intended to assist seniors in maintaining their quality of life and protecting as much of their assets as the law allows, while accessing appropriate public benefits.

Aging in place until they come to carry us out has its appeal. No one likes a change,  But mounting health and mobility problems as we age can make aging in place increasingly unrealistic. It can also be a burden on those who love us. The New York Times recently ran an article on adult children who are sacrificing their careers to tend to their parents.  Longview shows that options are available.

Location, Location

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 simple life, by Wood-Tex

The simple life, by woodtex.com

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.