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.