Real estate developers took a calculated leap when they poured millions into developing retirement communities to meet the emerging market of the baby boomers coming of age. The plan I guess was for the 10,000 boomers reaching retirement age a day to flock to sign up for the package deal. They projected that the newest group of seniors would be grateful for the lack of household duties, be enticed by multiple luxury amenities a stroll away as well as crave the peace and quiet of being segregated from the rest of the multi generational world.
Why are many of these new developments lagging behind in sign ups or as they are referred to move ins? It is not that 70 is the new 55, rather that many a 65 to 72 year old is still working part time or full time, or tending to family. The costs of moving out of home sweet home to these well appointed facilities is very foreboding as the financial security levels have gone down through lack of pensions and a fluctuating stock market.
But it is more than that on a very granular level. Even those who have the assets to do so are hesitating. Their reality is that many of these new seniors are not feeling the old part yet. What does that mean, denial or an unrealistic attitude? Over the next few weeks I intend to blog about several areas that are essential to staying independent in your home and what is already out there that we should be thankful for.
First, the issue of Transportation. One of the predictions was that the very nature of the suburbs being so car dependent would isolate seniors. Keeping doctor appointments and social contacts take on a whole new meaning without being able to drive. Enter the world of ride services with both expanded public and private transportation.
Today I saw on the highway a ‘kneeling van’ with a adjustable ramp attachments at the back. Uber is looking to add handicapped accessible vans. Transportation is actually one of the easier problems to solve for non driving seniors. There are volunteers non profit services and a sliding scale of other paying options to get from here to there.
The newer cars we buy have more safety features with back up cameras and lane assistance. Improved vision care is keeping more people on the road longer. There are driving safety courses for seniors through AARP that provide a discount off your rates and help tune up your skills. Your driving circle of life may become smaller but many seniors manage to stay active and safe. As for shopping, many supermarket chains offer different variations of online ordering pick up or delivery. Online shopping brings everything to your front door.
Giving up your keys does not have to mean giving up your home. This growing network of ride options is one of the developments we should all be thankful for.