Plan Now For Affordable Care Later

The sooner you start planning for the future, the greater your chances of remaining happy and independent through your golden years!

#cohousing #aging

Senior Cohousing: A Financially Sustainable Third Way

Some rather startling results emerged from a recent survey of older adults:

  • 70% of Baby Boomers are unaware that the costs of long-term care are NOT covered by either Obamacare or Medicare
  • Affluent Boomers expect their long-term care to cost $36,220 annually, while the actual cost of such care is expected to rise to $265,000 annually by 2030, a gap of over $200,000/year between expected and actual costs
  • 71% of Boomers want to receive long-term care in their own homes

Combined with the fact that 43% of the 55+ crowd has less than $25,000 saved for retirement, it’s quite clear that we are not prepared as a society for the enormous task of taking care of our seniors in the years ahead. The article mentions aging in place as a preferred option, but few homes are adequately constructed for the special needs of seniors, not to mention the resulting social isolation that can destroy one’s health as severely as any physical disease.

Yet there is an alternative to aging in either an institutional setting or alone in a big, empty home. This third way, enormously popular in Scandinavia and now just starting to gain a foothold in the U.S., is to age in an intentional community. The benefits for older adults of having a solid social support system nearby have been documented in numerous studies, yet continue to be underestimated by most traditional retirement planners.

Senior cohousers are not immune from the natural aging process, but the daily adventures that are possible with their neighbors make them a more vivacious and optimistic bunch than your typical group of seniors. By tapping into and sharing their own knowledge and skills, cohousers can enjoy a wide variety of services and experiences at much lower cost than they would in an institutional, consumer-driven model. It may not keep you out of the nursing home forever, but senior cohousing can prolong the active stage of your elderhood and help you conserve your financial resources in the process.

Dreaming of Sustainable Communities For All

Yesterday we celebrated the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a transcendent figure who will always occupy a special place in our nation’s history for his selfless advocacy on behalf of peace and justice. In addition to equal rights and nonviolence, Dr. King was also a proponent of community self-reliance and cooperative ventures. He understood that collaboration not only improved the economic conditions of a community, but also empowered the individuals within it to take control over their lives and form free associations with others in the pursuit of common interests.

With a new generation entering elderhood in droves, many of them without the traditional family structures that have supported elders in the past, Baby Boomers will need to discover new ways to unite together and form communities of common interest and support. Phoenix Commons intends to blaze a trail for this new generation of seniors, as the first senior cohousing community in the San Francisco Bay Area. Future members are already meeting regularly to explore various ways to share resources and knowledge, working together to create a vibrant, autonomous community of conscious aging.

Aging in community should be an option for every senior, regardless of income. If you are interested in aging cooperatively with others but cannot afford to join Phoenix Commons, you should look into the CAN Project (Collaborative Aging Network), recently launched by Elders Village, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides educational and community building resources to seniors in the SF Bay Area. Funded by the Making A Big Difference grant awarded by Coming of Age (Bay Area), the CAN Project will form a network of senior volunteers, trained to serve as peer-to-peer counselors to other seniors interested in cooperative housing and other forms of collaboration. This project has the potential to significantly amplify awareness and knowledge of cooperative aging concepts on a grassroots level, and we support them wholeheartedly. For more information, be sure to visit the Elders Village website.

Now Coveted: A Walkable, Convenient Place

Today, the most valuable real estate lies in walkable and bikable urban locations. A location’s walkability is defined by how much of the everyday needs can be met within walking, transit, or biking distance. The New York Times article by CHRISTOPHER B. LEINBERGER, a George Washington University School of Business and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Now Coveted: A Walkable, Convenient Place, describes how housing value is positively correlated to walkability scores.

Test-drive your retirement

As the Baby Boomers draw closer to retirement, they are left with many decisions to make regarding what they would like to do once they retire. A problem that seems to be more and more prevalent is that “Boomers” just can’t seem to decide what their lives should be like after they retire. USA Today recently published an article by Christine Dugas entitled, “Test-drive retirement before taking it on the road.” The article suggests that the Boomer generation may want to practice for retirement. This means knowing your expenses, your assets, and your emotional needs. Another key point is the possible need to redefine retirement – many people don’t want to stop working once they reach retirement. In fact, you don’t have to stop working once you retire, you can explore a whole new field or stay in the field you have been in your entire life. According to Dugas, “[retirees] are motivated. The mind may not be as fast as it was years ago, but you make up for it because of the judgement you can bring to the job.” If you would like to read this interesting article, click here.