Lately, researchers and aging experts have begun predicting where and how Baby Boomers are going to spend the rest of their lives. Some say we will seek out a “niche” retirement community, while others say we want to age-in-place in our own home retrofitted to accommodate current (or future) ailments. Then there are those who suggest that we might sell the old homestead, buy an RV and see the USA. Another possibility being batted around is that, due to the recession, increased longevity and poor retirement planning, a good many Boomers may be forced to move in with their adult children.
Moving in with my kids (shudder) will hopefully be a last resort and I believe I am correct in assuming they feel the same. So, maybe it would be useful to get a head start and examine other housing options on the menu.
Not to be confused with nursing homes! Baby Boomers have a negative attitude about “homes for the aged” and apparently fear being put in one. Hopefully, the Boomer generation’s desire to avoid entering the old-fashioned version of skilled nursing facilities will serve to propel the industry towards positive change. Some of these “homes” are rushing to update their style and the services offered to residents. One improvement taking place is the consideration of an older person’s wish to return to their own home after hospitalization. The result is a kind of rehabilitation halfway house located on the hospital’s campus. Also, most assisted living facilities are implementing culture changes such as a more inviting, homelike decor, less institutionalized attitudes, and allowing residents the ability to determine their own daily schedules.
These are welcome upgrades to nursing homes but let’s concentrate on healthy aging.
- UBRC- Unfamiliar with that acronym? It stands for University-Based Retirement Communities. Makes sense doesn’t it. You had a good time in college, right? Why not revisit that experience and find out what more a college town has to offer than frats, bars, and all night pizza delivery. Retirees can attend university concerts, art exhibits, and even sit in on classes. Residents might be of the erudite variety and oft times include past faculty members and alumni. Here are some UBRC’s to check out: The Village at Penn State, The Forest at Duke, Lasell Village, and Ithaca Longview.
- Niche retirement communities-These are unique in that the culture of the community is based around the retirees’ hobbies and interests. Explore these options: Burbank Senior Artists Colony, Chiefland Astronomy Village, for aging hippies Rocinante, serving retired letter carriers Nalcrest, amateur aviators flock to Spruce Creek Fly-In, and (oh so pretty) equestrian lovers The Ridge at Chukker Creek.
The Center for Disease Control has defined aging-in-place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” The spark from this idea has been lighting up architectural firms, disability product companies, home health care agencies and technology start-ups all around the world. Aging Boomers can choose to pay off their home, remodel a bit and live out the rest of their healthy lives in the neighborhood they have grown to love. A whole new area in the residential remodeling industry has been created where having a CAPS (certified aging in place specialist) designation can give companies a competitive edge in helping a home-owner retrofit their home for physical age-related changes and future ailments. Using residential universal design ideas, a Baby Boomer can slowly make changes to living areas, such as kitchen and bath, that will accommodate and aid health limitations and still retain a certain design aesthetic. Once the house is set up for the eventualities of aging, the homeowner can still deal with incapacitating illness by employing medical home care helpers.
Check out these great ideas and products:
- Book: Unassisted Living: Ageless Homes for Later Life by Wid Chapman & Jeffrey P. Rosenfeld
- Aging-in-Place Ideas for Kitchens
- Aging Safely Baths
- In Canada: Safe Bathing Centre
Other Retirement Living Ideas
- Retirement Recreational Vehicle Parks: Lots of parks cater to the 55+ crowd and one even provides special CARE (continuing assistance for retired escapees) Rainbow’s End RV Park Livingston, TX.
- Cruise Ship Living: Writer Brian Jaeger lists 6 Reasons to Consider Retirement on a Cruise. Among them are socialization, food, and service. He reasons that the cost can be significantly less than some high-end retirement communities. But if you have cashed out with plenty of retirement dough, you might want to own a piece of The World Residences at Sea.
- Living with your kids: Crack open a bottle of Boone’s Farm and put some records on the stereo because Mom and Pop are moving in!!
Here’s hoping we all find our way home….