One of the most substantial challenges to being able to maintain your  independence as you age is the lack of affordable housing.  Sometimes the  cherished home of many years does not allow you to stay.  There may be mobility challenges /structural  issues that are too expensive to resolve.  Real estate taxes may be escalating with no relief.  So staying put may turn into moving to age in another place. Maybe that means finding your own new neighborhood.

What if people could create their own self managed senior communities  where they are the owners – the landlord and the residents all wrapped up together.  I am not talking about the infamous Villages in Florida.  It has  51,000 residents, its own zip code and many rules and laws for property conformity. I am thinking about smaller clusters of communities run by the residents for the residents.  

I had read an article in Time Magazine several weeks ago. It showcases how creating affordable housing can work in the hands of seniors. The key is self management.  It  is a far cry from the senior housing industry and their marketing ploys to “put heads in beds”  before there is a dire need.  That remains the  ongoing conundrum, they can not understand why boomers and seniors are not flocking to them sooner rather than later.

The common perception of any mention of a trailer park is a negative stereotype. Most people do not realize the space and potential within the base of a double wide trailer.  Another misconception, they are not really mobile. You rent a space, bring in the base and customize your home.   I have relatives who live in a beautifully cared for “mobile home” that looks like a rancher. It has a full kitchen, living room, dining room and three bedrooms and  2 full baths and a laundry room, without an attic or basement.   They have their own individual community  among a dozen other similar homes but are still part of the local town. 

I probably lost a bunch of people with the beginning of the last paragraph. There is an immediate  response of not wanting to go there.  Having read the Time article  more than once,  several things stand out. It is full of the essence of wanting to stay independent and yet be a part of a compatible community when finances become tantamount.  

There are of course obstacles, how would that translate outside of Florida, Arizona and the snow bird territories? There is the potential zoning nightmare of what you can and can not do in different jurisdictions. Starting such a community from the ground up would have its infrastructure costs. Compared to other options, it could still be a welcome bargain.  This could be an affordable hybrid of co-housing.  Somewhere something has to change to let more true senior communities develop themselves. Developers usually work for the most profit and they will not approach the task.

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