Retirees don't want senior communities

Baby boomers and older Americans are looking, by choice and by necessity, at different retirement-housing options.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Nov 7, 2012 2:45PM

© Ilene MacDonald/AlamyBaby boomers and seniors are looking at a number of options for places to live in retirement, but they rank traditional senior-living communities toward the bottom of the list.


According to Housing in America – The Baby Boomers Turn 65, a new report from the Urban Land Institute, more older Americans prefer to age in place or are stuck with homes they can’t get rid of, forcing them to stay put in retirement.


More than half of U.S. residents over 65 already live in the suburbs, which is likely to create some naturally occurring senior communities in those suburbs, as well as demands on municipalities to provide support services such as transportation for older residents.


Seniors who move are drawn not to the exurban retirement communities of the past but to cities and suburban "town centers," near their grown children, friends, work and services.

"Leading-edge boomers will not settle gracefully into quiet retirement and move into traditional seniors housing communities for years, if they ever do," John K. McIlwain, senior resident fellow for housing and the author of the report, said in a news release.

His report divided older Americans into three categories: Leading-Edge boomers (those born between 1946 and 1956), the Silent Generation (ages 67 to 85) and the Greatest Generation (85 and older).

"The combination of the Leading Edge boomers reaching 65 with expectations of a longer life than ever before, and the fact that many of the Silent and Greatest generations are running through their limited retirement savings — combined with a continuing reduction in federal and state resources for housing subsidies — is leading to a coming crisis in U.S. housing for those over 65," McIlwain said in the news release. 


In addition to staying in their suburban homes or moving to downtown cores, retirees also are exploring other types of living arrangements, the report says. Those include:

  • Living in college towns, near children and grandchildren, and participating in activities on campus.
  • Mobile homes.
  • Co-housing and communal living.
  • Multigenerational housing.
  • Retirement communities for people with shared interests.
Nov 18, 2012 3:34AM
I still say alot of the retirement places are too expensive also.  I am living in my own home for taxes and insurance that run me about $150 a month.  Where else could I go and live that cheaply if I didn't have a kid.
Nov 17, 2012 9:10PM
I'm 76, just got a loan mod on a condo in Fla, I was trying to stay in my house in N.Ga and used up all my assets thinking it would sell; it didn't, however I was fortunate enough to buy this little condo when I was taking care of my mom a few years ago (she was a partially paralyzed stroke patient). SHe did have enough assets for herself thank goodness but all gone now. I'm just glad I was able to get the loan mod so at least I don't have to worry about (1) moving again (2) cutting grass. There's a senior bus that comes for grocery shopping etc. at the moment I'm still driving but car expenses are terrible, don't know how long that will last. SO plan in advance. I lost my money to family members and though I'm sorry about it now didn't think it would happen when I "loaned" it.  All gone, I'm worth what my car is worth, about $3500.  Could be worse, not sleeping in my car. Health is good,trying to apply for food stamps etc. Fla is warm (too warm really but at least no snow!) Some good friends here from the years I spent caring for mom and aunt so not lonely. All in all, really lucky.
Nov 17, 2012 8:27PM

Feel lucky if you have a choice.

I was born Oct 1940 (now 72) I was always refered to as the silent majority. My parents in '17 & '19 both 1st gen. born Americans. A child then was to be seen and not heard. Discipline then is now child abuse and we were given chores as we could handle them, not expecting money for them or an allowance.
This began changing by the era of 1960. Korea was the first war we never won. The era of socialist anti-war riots and communalism.

I've worked hard all my life and now living on Social in-Security and medicareless and diying from heart disease. The cuts from obamacare affect me severely. Several diagnostics were postponded until they could be done by related study grants that could be used to diagnose my condition. Medicareless no longer buys or repairs medical equipment and mobility devices. Batteries for my power chair cost nearly $400. Not paid for but cash in advance before they are ordered.

People my age made less income than those later and that effected the amount of retirement. One commenter said they had a hard time on $1500/mo, I get $990 and must live in subsidized housing after waiting two yrs. to get a room. Since I'm disabled I've been able to get a small one Bdrm because of my chair. One third of my income is for rent and pay extra for utilities. After 3 yrs. of no SSA COLA I got $37 and my rent and utilities went up and I got less than before. Medicareless and Rx went up also. Milk is double what it was in 2009. Another twist? Because of my income I can get $16 in food stamps the DHHS has not made an adjustment to income levels in 10 yrs. and are now having to make cuts to senior and disabled services. My homecare worker was cut from 54 hrs/mo to 37 and senior centers have had to make cuts also. I can get one free meal a week if I'm able to get to the community center.
I was able to buy a new computer because a friend took me to a casino and I won a jackpot back in Oct 2011 when I was still able to get around a little with a walker. )(In case someone was wondering why I'm on the internet. I have a wireless laptop and feed off a local Wi-Fi outlet with their permission.

Nov 17, 2012 6:15PM
Those who voted for Obama, read carefully, you made a grave mistake.  Obama Care will mean no care for older seniors.  Pain pills to help with your pain but no health care to help you live longer.   
Nov 17, 2012 6:02PM

Over 50 percent of today's grandparents are raising their grandkids or have their children living with them.  This is the reason why.  Retirement communities do not accept children, at least none of them here in my state do.  It is the same thing for subsidized housing for the elderly.   Only spouse's are welcome. 

Before giving a thumbs down on this, tell me where there are retirement communities that accept children.  I live on $1,500 a month with my adopted child who is 5.  Who else accepts children?

Nov 17, 2012 6:00PM
I'm severely disabled w/ copd and had to sell my home at a higher elevation and move to sea level.  Prices are much higher here so I'm renting until I see if it fits me.  I used to manage a section 8 HUD subsidized apt building which was quite nice and is adjusted to your income.
That's if you can do an apartment.  Just keeping moving and best of luck to you all.  No more yard work for me.
I blew most of my retirement income in the stock market crashes as well as caring for my invalid parent.  now it's social security and a small pension for me.  It's been a good ride.
Nov 17, 2012 4:20PM
My husband & I are boomers.  He's had several brain bleeds & stroke.  My health is not good.  When the market tanked in the 80's we lost the kids college and our retirement.  Right after that due to a 3rd cutback, he was let go.  We couldn't make up what we lost in the 8 yrs afterwards up to the 1st bleed when he could no longer work and I quit my job to take care of him.  We had plans, however the golden years we're supposed to have - not even gilt.  We live on our SS, get no foodstamps and pay all our own medical.  My kids try to help but they've their own families.  We sold our home and moved up North to be closer to our families.  What a joke - prices here are so bad and we can't afford to move.  Put your money under your mattresses like our grandparents did and hopefully you'll have something when the time comes,
Nov 17, 2012 4:13PM
I'm 63 and just got laid off from the job I thought I'd have until retirement. Suddenly I am retired, like it or not.  I have arthritis now, bad, and I'm finding it harder and harder to want to spend my time mowing my huge lawn, raking all the stnkin leaves and waiting for the State of NJ's next stinkin property tax hike.  So, I got a realtor in to sell the place come hell or high water.  I am going to lose money, but I will gain the satisfaction of not having to wait for good day to do all the lawn chores, etc.  We just had a hurricane and the weather people said all the basements would flood, so I put everything up high, because mine is finished and quite nice.  I didn't get a drop of water, but I had to put everything back in its original place.  Boy, am I sick of living like this.  Next I'll be shoveling because my township doesn't plow my access road. 
Nov 17, 2012 3:13PM
Depends on the current state of your health and how your luck holds out.  They put my sister's ex-mother-in-law in a place where I wouldn't put my dog in.  She had absolutely no other options.  It was that or the street.
Nov 17, 2012 2:48PM
My husband and I both boomers, taking care of his greatest generation parents who are still in their home with a caregiver.  They are both 89 with walkers, we use to leave the country during the winter to get away from the cold but  now we get one way tickets just in case we have to come home because of a fall or other medical problem.  We are lucky because they have the money for the caregiver,  its just a matter of time till things change but for now its working.  We are doing things differently, we will sell our home and rent a condo as close to the water as we can get.  We also have a condo in Mexico for the winter, which we will hold on to until money gets tight.  We want to travel as much as possible and see the world.
Nov 17, 2012 2:25PM
Can anyone explain why the age group 67 to 85 is called the Silent Generation?  I've never heard this term used before.
Nov 17, 2012 1:57PM
I have been trying to buy a house with Amegy Bank as the lender.  They keep throwing barriers at me which I truly believe is because of my age.   They just don't want to give me the loan.   If they continue with their lame excuses, I want to file a discrimination suit against them.   I believe they don't want to help me because I am 72 and am disabled.  It is not a large amount they would have to lend.
Nov 17, 2012 1:20PM
I am responding to Marlene.  My husband and I live in a housing development with all age groups.  Our house was paid off this last June.  Our Honda Civic 2008 was paid off in shorter than two years.  We have several credit cards, but we keep them paid down low.  No credit card dept.  I like to be around all age groups.  Hay old fogies, the young can teach us too.  As an educator for many years, I learned from my students!
Nov 17, 2012 1:00PM

No retirement home for me. They don't care about the people only the money they pay to stay there.

Most of them are run by people that don't have any people skills or understand the needs of older people. ALSO THERE FOOD SUCKS!

Nov 17, 2012 1:00PM
I would rather stay in my home because it is much cheaper.  Retirement communities are usually very expensive and I have no idea why someone would want to eat up their savings living in such a place.  Another thing to consider regarding this is that many grandparents today are raising grandchildren and grandchildren are not welcome in retirement communities. 
Nov 17, 2012 12:49PM
We are having a home built in Israel, near my husbands family in and around the kinnaret or as you Christians say, Sea of Galilee.  Of course, are waiting for Israel to blow the hell out of the Plestians.  We will sell our paid off house here first and get the best price we can.
Nov 17, 2012 11:57AM

I have moved to Sun City AZ and love it.

there is everything a Senior needs here to be happy.

Health Care is great, good golfing, recreation centers,

entertainment, shopping, Dining.


Nov 17, 2012 11:02AM
We live in a Continuing Care Retirement Community(CCRC) and we love it.  As a person ages, it is important to simplfy one's life and have the choice of anything you want to do each day.  I no longer shovel snow, cut the grass, paint the house, rake leaves, etc.  I have the security of knowing that if I run out of assets for the next level of care, financial assistance is available for life.  My  kids will never have to deal with finding us a "home" when and if we need assisted living or 24/7 nursing care.  Bottom line;  Everyone needs to have a plan for care and lifestyle as you age.  If you wait until you  need extra care, you will miss the great opportunity to develop friendships with people like you and enjoy the numerous activities that a good CCRC provides.
Nov 17, 2012 10:42AM
We made our moves to plan for retirement years ahead of schedule in 1998.  Here is what we looked at:

1.  Affordability so that we could do some traveling. Our bucket list includes visiting every state in the nation along with making wonderful memories.  Already have four extended trips under our belts.

2.  Not having to live by any one's rules, home owner's associations are managed by the control Nazis' and that is not what we wanted in old age nor did we want to be subject to their ever increasing rates and expenses.

3.  We brought more than we needed, but could afford so that we can sell some of it in case of emergency or for extra income.

4.  Paid off all credit cards, cars, home and land before husband's retirement in 2009, because we limited ourselves to only using one paycheck to pay all of the bills.  I still have 10.5 years to go before retirement, and we have never been people that lived beyond their means. A lesson well taught by parents & grandparents of the Great Depression era and at great dismay to bankers and builders.

5.  Before we made our selection, we talked to several builders, but the building boom was in full swing and they could care less about building a two to three bedroom home on one level.  They were chasing the almighty dollar and blinded as these smarter, older generations walk on by and did it their way. Only fools get sucked into their trap of unaffordability, so it is not that traditional, senior-communities were rejected, we were ignored and/or would not be gouged.  Ironically years after we re-located, our community received the designation of a retirement community.  So perhaps the builders should have listened to these wise old owls, because they are years late and now more than a $1 short.

Nov 17, 2012 10:15AM
Most of us are in such denial of what it is going to be like as we age. I care-give to both of my elderly parents who blessedly have sufficient resources to staff and live in their own home until the "bitter end". $2,000 a month is only a drop in the bucket!  Check out what it will cost when it goes from the stage of retirement to "assisted" living and need 24/7 care. It is not only the cost, but most family members are not capable of that kind of care even if they want to. What is more sad with the institutional options is the separation when a couple gets old together but finds themselves with differing maladies such as one is immobile and the other has dementia. Sad, sad, sad....and our government can't even figure out how to provide decent and affordable health care as it is.
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