Money Matters – Over The Hill Gang: Housing
BOSTON (CBS) – So where are you going to live when you retire?
Almost one in every six Massachusetts residents belongs to the Over the hill Gang (age 60) according to the Attorney General’s website. And that number will increase as the boomers age. If you are in the planning stage how much money you will have in retirement is important and will dictate where you will be living.
And it truly is a myth that we all want to retire to Florida, Arizona or even abroad. Some definitely do, but most of us don’t. We may want the warmer weather in January and February but the summers and falls here in New England.
So how do you stay in your own home or your community so you are close to your support system? For starters would you consider downsizing and moving into a smaller house that you can grow old in? Would you consider some of the 55+ communities that are sprouting up. You can own your own home or a townhouse. Could be a gated community with a golf course, recreational center, a pool or a restaurant. All have rules about such things as putting up Christmas lights, visiting grandchildren and dogs to live with!
Can you retrofit the house you live in or build a new home so it can accommodate your needs as you age? One floor living for starters. Stairs are tough on any one over 60. Bathrooms may need to be updated so a walker or a wheel chair can get through the door and into the shower. Railings and wide hallways are a plus.
As we age there is also assisted living facilities where you can rent an apartment and use as much or as little of the services offered such as meals or laundry. According to a GenWorth study the average cost of assisted living here in Massachusetts is about $55,000 a year.
Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, NORCs is a demographic term to describe neighborhoods or buildings in which a large segment of the residents are older adults. And there may be services available to allow the elder to stay in their homes. Beacon Hill has such a community and has formalized a network to help seniors. It costs $640 a year for single membership, $890 for a household.
And last, how about living with the kids? If you are considering that, think about a granny flat so that you have some distance from the family and can come and go as you please. This could be an addition attached to their home or a carriage house in the backyard.
Most Massachusetts’ communities have the basics of a support system in place. Most cities and towns have a Council on Aging or a senior center and offer various activities and services to their elders.
In the small town I live in, the local police dispatcher makes phone calls each day to check on an aging population. Recently the dispatcher was concerned about an elder. He just did not sound quite right when she spoke with him. She sent the ambulance over to check and he had had a stroke.
One more thing: Magazine: Where to Retire, every place featured sounds wonderful. But more like places I would like to visit than live.