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 17, 2012 10:09AM
Can't get over it, can you ker-plunk!
Nov 17, 2012 10:01AM




...I wouldn't worry to obama and his socialistic ideas is going to take it all away anyway....!  And a lot of you voted for him......

Nov 17, 2012 9:35AM
As an active 1946 baby boomer I think the thought  of being stuck in some senior warehouse can't be any more appealing than the little ones stuck in those warehouse daycare centers. All that really matters is that families stick together for both young and old.   
Nov 17, 2012 9:33AM

I retired a couple years ago and am exploring options for where/how I want to live. I'm blessed with wonderful health. Some of my friends, who are slightly older, have mild to sever health issues so community services is important.

Here's my initial thoughts:

1] If I want to stay in this community, this is a great time for me to involve myself with groups that are developing options for seniors to remain in their homes.

2] If I decide to move, it should be soon so I can develop a support system while I'm healthy and have a flexible schedule.

3] It's important for me to examine my goals & values then move toward them. It's not fair to expect someone else to make the decision where I should live based on their concepts.

4] Even if I move to be near family or a college environment, it's important to remember that things change so both may be gone in 30 years when I'm old & I may be healthier than anyone would guess. Change should be part of the plan too - at least being flexible as it happens.

Yes, I'll move because there'll come a time when ranch living isn't ideal. I don't know yet when or where I'll move [maybe 10 miles into town].

I DO intend to be in control so know it's time for me to start researching and making decisions. This will give me a chance to do it MY WAY.




Nov 17, 2012 8:50AM
I'm at the office and have been periodically looking back at the responses from this article. It's almost noon and so far only 12 comments so far.... is this a statement of our age group? -- us old farts don't use computers?  
Nov 17, 2012 8:40AM

 Why would anyone pay $2000.00 or more per month to stay in a retirement home as Gale mentioned above! Living in your own home as we age is what most want, but can become much harder when health and medical issues start to affect us.The biggest concern for Aging in Place seniors is your safety!!A bad injury or fall can be life changing and leave you in a bad way permantly! I run a company that specializes in elderly /handicapped friendly bathroom remodels that have curbless showers, grab bars, elevated toilets and such to help make your bathroom  much safer and easier to use!You will also save a lot of money spending 6000.00 to 8000.00(on average) for the remodel than paying the rest home 2000.00 and up per month!! For people that need special care an in home nurse or helper can come when needed (daily/biweekly) to help bathe/dress.There are grants to for seniors and Vets to help for those on low incomes as well.

Incredible Kitchens and Bath   Sacramento Area  Ca.

Nov 17, 2012 8:37AM
I'm a retiree and I'd never want to live among a bunch of old farts! Who's gonna supply the neighborhood eye candy? I never did like old people, and I'm no improvement! 
Nov 17, 2012 8:03AM
Let's look at life before 1950. Generally, old people lived with their families, often in a multi-generational house that had been acquired and expanded across many years. Kids knew their grandparents, family stories and wisdom were available at the breakfast table. 
For me, that would be a nightmare, I want privacy, and my own oddball life, but still, it was a working concept. The point is, the elders were not ostracized, but rather included, 
Nov 17, 2012 7:46AM
People just think too much.  I want to continue my life as I always have. Nice community, my own home, my hobbies, a little travel, some shopping, just normal living until death.  And my house payment (soon to be paid off) is less than 1/2 of the rent for an apartment.  Why make housing a major expense again ?  None of this retirement life change stuff for me, just normal living, as part of the world, until I am gone.
Nov 17, 2012 7:39AM
As a Boomer with a greatest generation parent, we all live independently in separate suburban communities.  I attribute my mother's well being to the community that she lives in.  In her late 80's she is still living a full life with communal activities (learning, lectures, friends of all ages, etc).  I intend to do the same.  Some of us never were able to live comfortably on college campuses and value our privacy and independence.  Do not tell me when and where I should eat my dinner! 
Nov 17, 2012 7:26AM
Nov 17, 2012 7:18AM
We the baby boomers are all different in our private situations and are all alike in aging. It's a different world then our parents. I'm kissing the tail end of 70, my twin brother who has been retired for five year embraces his time in life. I'm still working six and seven days a week at my business and the inevitable scares the crap out of me. I love to work and it's the interaction with people what keeps me going and feeling young(er).  

We have the luxury to look back and marvel at the wonderful generation we lived .  I look at the future with the changing of the world and I wonder what kind of mess my grandchildren will inherit . But then I realize it will be their world.... I just apologize for using up the natural resources:-)  Housing? -- as with many in our generation, personally -- I will stay in  my home till hell freezes over. 
Nov 17, 2012 6:34AM

How about there are more of us who are also living rural!  We want space!  We don't want to be told what we can/can't do on our own property.

They will have to carry me away from my land!  It took me a very long time to get it so I'm NOT giving it up!

Nov 17, 2012 6:30AM

Good...then the waiting list won't be so long when I'm ready. I personally know fellow seniors who do NOT want to "live around a bunch of OLD people". Look in the mirror and get over yourselves, people. It is what it is. Youngsters may be nice to you but they certainly  don't want to "hang out" with you, and rightfully so. It is wonderful the bonds you can have with your peers talking about the past, your aches and pain (things the youngsters canNOT relate to, yet)and lots of other things. If you don't want to live around other people your age, what does that make you, younger? I don't think so.

Nov 17, 2012 5:44AM

I have heard nightmares about these places. I am retired and 70 years old. I am staying in my home till I no longer can. I try and take care of myself and my health is good. People must decide what is best for themselves. My husband and I do not have a lot of money but so far we are able to survive.  We did a reverse mortgage to pay off our home and have a little extra from that.


We just take it one day at a time and we both know whatever will happen will happen. But one thing I know I am not leavig our home till we need to.

Nov 17, 2012 5:33AM
As former Managers for two different Senior Retirement Companies, we have witnessed this trend and it is extremely accurate. We are 'Leading Edge' ourselves and after having managed these communities for four years, cannot picture ourselves living in the same environment. There is a company in Seattle, SHAG that offers one of the better and more progressive retirement  alternatives we have seen. Companies like Holiday Retirement and Hawthorn Retirement, along with RLC out of Omaha; only the amenities are different. It is very easy to get into a $2,000 per month plus commitment, then find your 'quality' of life begin the lessen. The food quality is only as good as your chef and there are many poorly trained chefs working in these communities. Your activities are only as good as your activity director AND how much of a budget they have to work within. If you do the math, you are ahead of the game to find an apartment, buy and prepare your own food and if you need housekeeping services, hire someone for four hours once a week. Not everyone wants or needs 3 huge meals everyday and not everyone wishes to play bingo five times a week, the base for many activity directors. If you are considering a retirement community, read the fine print and be very aware of the entry level discounts offered. First question we would ask: How long has this sales rep been with this company? In most cases you will find six months or much less. There is a tremendous amount of pressure placed on these sales reps to 'fill the building' and 'at whatever the discount.' IF you have a disability and need or feel you need someone around 24/7 'just in case' then the retirement communities offer a different benefit. Even then, there are alternate choices with hiring a 'caregiver' to come by or check in via the phone daily without feeling your lifestyle has been compromised. Think about it long and hard before you make that decision.
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