As prices rise, concern grows for senior renters

As prices rise, concern grows for senior renters

Marta (not her real name) called Senior Concerns as a last resort.

The mobile home she and her husband had been renting for the past 30 years was being sold. The owner had died, and the owner’s adult children wanted to sell.

The rent the couple had been paying had been below market rate for many years, allowing them to use their only income, Social Security checks, to pay the rent and buy groceries and prescriptions, with almost nothing left over for savings each month.

After receiving notice that the trailer was being sold, Marta tried to find affordable housing. But nothing in their price range existed, and there was a years-long waiting list for subsidized senior housing in any nearby community.

With no children or relatives to lean on, Marta had no choice but to stay put until she could figure out what to do.

Then the eviction notice came. They had 60 days to vacate the property—and nowhere to go.

Learning from COVID to improve assisted-living facilities

Learning from COVID to improve assisted-living facilities

If I outlive my husband and have difficulty living independently, I want to move to an assisted-living facility.

I thrive in the company of others, and a socially isolated life would be lonely and depressing.

However, with an eye on COVID and social isolation, I’ve been thinking about features I would like to have available should I make the move in later years.

At the top of the list of considerations is the ability to keep myself healthy should some communal or personal health crisis occur. I’d love to see my facility have an infirmary where I could be cared for if I were too ill to be alone in my apartment but not ill enough to be hospitalized.

Consider seniors in new construction

Consider seniors in new construction

With an eye toward a potential future project, Many Mansions and the Area Housing Authority of the County of Ventura paid a visit to Senior Concerns to gather suggestions for features seniors would want to see in a new complex of independent senior apartments.

We were delighted to know that a builder had an interest in what seniors would want in a living situation, rather than just constructing the most affordable and routine set of apartments.

Features that came easily to mind include elevators, trash chutes, dishwashers and Wi-Fi.

Universal Design elements such as walk-in showers, raised toilets, and windows and doors that can easily be opened, closed and locked should also be incorporated.

Other ideas on our list:

Apartments that are affordable for most seniors.

A circular pickup and dropoff area with a bench and lighting for those who plan to ride with someone else or use Dial-ARide.

Front doors to the building that open automatically when a person nears the entrance.

When is it the right time to move?

When is it the right time to move?
My parents have new neighbors. Jack and Carole, both in their early 80s, realized their cape-style home in Rhode Island was too much for them, with bedrooms on the second floor and the washer and dryer in the basement. They would soon need some help and decided a one-story home, minutes from their son in New Hampshire, was a good choice.

One week after they purchased their new house, Carole was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

On the day of the move, after the furniture and boxes were placed in the home, Carole came out of her son’s car to enter the house. She had a walker with tennis balls on the bottom. My mom watched as Carole took a few steps and then had to sit down.

Jack and his son went into the house and grabbed a kitchen chair. They sat Carole in the chair and carried her into the house.

My mom took the transport wheelchair we have for my father and brought it over to Jack and Carole. She asked them if they would like to borrow it and they were greatly appreciative. They had not planned on Carole needing something like that.

As my mother relayed this story to me last week, I was struck by the challenge that many seniors face in knowing when it’s the right time to move.

While most seniors want to age in place, for some that may not be a realistic option.

Widows may see benefits in shared housing

Widows may see benefits in shared housing

Today, widowed persons make up fully one-third of the U.S. population age 65 and older. The vast majority of them are women. Women are more likely than men to be widowed for two reasons.

First, women live longer than men. And second, women tend to marry older men, although the gap has been narrowing.

For several decades, the proportion of our senior population living alone has been increasing, especially among those age 85 and older, and more people are living alone now than at any point in the country’s history.

Losing a spouse is one of the most traumatic events that can occur in a person’s life. Oftentimes there is a snowball effect—first the trauma of losing the life partner and then the trauma of living alone.

According to “The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first Century,” authors Drs. Jacqueline Olds and Richard S. Schwartz cite studies that living alone increases social isolation as well as loneliness and results in reduced happiness, health and longevity.

How to be a savvy residential care shopper

Along with buying a new home come mounds of paperwork that must be signed. Most of us review documents in detail for accuracy and completeness because we recognize that we’ll be held to their terms and conditions. Some even hire an attorney to triple-check everything.

Do seniors or their loved ones take the same precautions when signing residential-care-facility contracts? Whether you’re the senior or the responsible party, the complex journey to entering a care facility can be daunting.

So many of the activities along that path are emotionally challenging: accepting that living on your own is no longer the best option

Housing choices for life

old woman looking out window

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