Seniors with Attitude Housing is our MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECT. If you are not experiencing problems finding or maintaining AFFORDABLE housing as seniors, fasten your seatbelts because it is a BUMPY ROAD.
Some background info: We have spent our entire professional lives in the SERVICE INDUSTRY. You may not realize it, but ALL INDUSTRIES are SERVICE INDUSTRIES. We, however, are from the more traditional SERVICE INDUSTRIES:
What are the common denominators here?
Little or no retirement, profit-sharing or other financial benefits.
To summarize, doing what we love, caring for and providing PROFESSIONAL SERVICES for customers, guests, students and clients has given us wonderful, fulfilling memories and LITTLE ELSE. In short, we are now seniors, ages 81 and 71 with NO RETIREMENT BENEFITS except (thankfully) Social Security.
Learn from our mistakes:
In order to lower our carbon footprint we moved to a well-designed urban complex with residential, retail, food and business services ALL WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE. The ability to walk to most of our daily requirements is rewarding and refreshing, mentally and physically! BUT, if you do not get OUT OF THE CAR and walk, these benefits are wasted!
Living within such a wonderful complex is financially beneficial IF the residential facility is AFFORDABLE for senior budgets. OURS IS NOT. We are spending 61% of our DISPOSABLE INCOME on rent alone. NOT DOABLE! Moving here was supposed to be our forever home. NOT! We are now in the process of returning to our home, currently occupied by our son two miles away, who has graciously agreed to accept his parents as NEW ROOMATES.
Some of the options we considered:
Senior Independent Living Complexes: TOO EXPENSIVE, not honoring our vegetarian lifestyle, too rigid, sometimes often religious based and claustrophobic.
Senior Share Residences: Local housing codes restrict to three non-related residents.
Senior Cluster Villages: Neighborhoods with shared “service memberships” providing buying co-ops, transportation, cleaning/maintenance service, tool sharing, and more. Not available locally.
Senior Co-Op Apartments: Available in the more progressive Northeast, these are DESIGNED with individual residential units for sleeping/living and COMMON AREA kitchen, laundry, living, and sometimes, childcare playrooms. Popular in some European countries, this concept is promoted for multi-generational occupancy to more easily accommodate shared services. Not available locally.
Senior Forever Apartments: In exchange for selling and/or signing over ownership of real estate, seniors are provided a comfortable apartment with amenity menu OPTIONS for the remainder of their lives. The LLC either retains ownership of the properties for rentals or sells on on the open market as liquid assets. Not available locally.
Senior Local Home Clusters: Modular homes clustered to provide a common courtyard space providing secure areas for entertaining and exercise. This concept would provide one unit to be occupied by a CNA certified resident who would provide emergency assistance. Not available locally.
Apartments: Within this university town apartments are 20-30% ABOVE AVERAGE rental costs because they CAN, i.e. a local complex charges $700 PER bedroom FOR A THREE BEDROOM UNIT THAT MUST BE RENTED IN ITS ENTIRITY BY ONE RESPONSIBLE (AND RICH) PARENT/TENANT.
RV/MOBILE LIVING (i.e. being homeless): Honestly more doable than not if we can get beyond the obvious short comes. Currently so popular the prices of all RVs, trailers and transit vans have risen 15-20% and are projected to continue to grow as the economy continues to be so volatile. This, in addition to having a BASE CAMP with our generous son is our new option.
We will address all the considerations, prices and options we have researched in our next BLOG, Seniors with Attitude Mobile Living.
Full disclosure: Not available locally refers to Wilmington, N.C.