New Preferences Give Rise to Virtual, DIY Retirement Communities

While the idea of a “virtual” retirement community is not a new one, the work of a former MIT professor who wished to retire in his Cambridge, Mass. community has made way for a new kind of retirement living, writes Forbes.

Former director of MIT’s science writing program Victor King McElheny started his own “virtual retirement community,” as a way to practice medical citizenship or postpone the costs of institutional care that becomes so paramount much later in life. 

The community, called Cambridge at Home includes 200 households who pay an annual fee of $1,200 that grants access to shared services such as transportation, trips, clubs, shopping and snow shoveling, Forbes reports. 

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“McElheny calls this fast-growing retirement solution for the rapidly multiplying elderly– the “Age in Community movement”– a revolution that will solve many of the challenges facing the elderly over Medicare, Social Security and new health matters to cope with their increasing life expectancy,” Forbes writes. 

Compared to typical costs of retirement communities that cost well over $1,200 per month, the solution can prolong a retiree’s years in his or her home. And incorporating medical services with new technology is playing to the cause. 

“McElheny believes his self-proclaimed concept of “Medical Citizenship” will go even further in the members of these retirement communities taking responsibility for remaining current about practical medical information and begin to use innovations such as miniature in home electronic monitors of vital signs that might avoid too many visits to emergency rooms and shorten stays in hospitals, which is bound to become more expensive,” Forbes writes. 

View the Forbes article

Written by Elizabeth Ecker