Aging Alternatives to Retirement Communities Cropping Up Nationwide

The list of where people can live in old age keeps growing longer as new alternatives are developed and existing ones are tweaked and modernized.

City dwellers may find themselves interested in new infrastructure geared toward the aging-in-place movement with services delivered in their own homes. Alternatively, they could choose a master-planned retirement community that increasingly have urban—or urban-accesible—locations. 

Other options include participating in the co-housing movement, joining a Village network, building new homes with universal design, or retrofitting existing homes with aging-friendly features. In most possibilities, technology is expected to play a key role.

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The New York Times writes:

Influenced by long-term trends in housing design, communications technology, medical care and the expectations of the largest retiree generation in United States history, the outlines of the next era of American retirement are gaining clarity across the country….

…Software developers and engineers say they are making it easier for people to stay in their homes — urban or suburban — by inventing sensors, audio and visual equipment, and communications devices to provide care remotely. Much of the data, video and sound is accessible online, enabling instant contact with residents, and providing peace of mind for friends and family.

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“In 20 years, many more people will stay in their homes who need help but don’t need to be in nursing care or assisted living,” said Casey Clements, the managing director of Rest Assured, which installs sensing and communications devices and assigns a trained staff member to provide what it calls telecare from its offices in Lafayette, Ind.

“Technology is changing in our favor,” he said. “Costs are coming down and these tools are already easy for clients to operate. We see many, many more people turning to this kind of system so that they can stay in their homes.”

…Master-planned retirement communities, which serve what the market calls “active independent adults,” are being built much closer to downtowns because customer surveys clearly indicate that buyers expect to continue working in their retirement years.

“With future baby boomers working part time, starting new businesses or new careers, it’s not surprising that they want to stay connected to their current community but still take advantage of an active lifestyle,” said Deborah Meyer, chief marketing officer for the PulteGroup.

Read the full NY Times article.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker