Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Evolving Service Providing Communities for the Senior Years

                         "For the times they are a-changin'" Bob Dylan

Due to recent changes in our economy, the popularity of service-oriented communities has increased.

Communities with Services

                                                Babylon Beach House Assisted Living on Long Island, NY:

Characteristics of Service Providing Communities:
  • Studio, one or two-bedroom apartments
  • One, two or three meals included in a monthly fee, and sometimes snacks too
  • Housekeeping - daily, weekly or monthly
  • If it is an assisted living community, included in a flat rate, along with meals and housekeeping, can be medical monitoring and personal services such as dressing and bathing.

Assisted living communities offer an easy lifestyle! Who wouldn't want that??

And that is the key to their recent popularity:

Physical Deterioration as we Age

As the population ages, fewer people are independent.

Aging can mean beginning to sit for longer periods of time. We can't lift and move objects around as we once did. Our legs feel stiff and achy. We lose balance easier and purchase a cane for the first time. We just don't have the same stamina. This accelerates when we are in our seventh decade.

In past times, by our 70's most of us are closer to passing. Times are changing and people are living longer with better health care.

This means just one thing: there will be a tipping point. When will we not want our independence any longer. We will always want it, but we just don't know how long we can maintain it.

Means of Transportation is a Huge Factor as we Age

Many people define losing their independence as the time when they can no longer drive.

When aging forces us to use alternative means of transportation, it becomes more desirable to move to communities that provide transportation and services as one has already given up a huge chunk of independence.

Cities that provide good transportation systems are also desirable for seniors. Santa Monica, California, and Portland, Oregon come to mind. There are many more cities that are addressing this problem for the future.

Types of Service Communities

What kinds of service communities are there?

  • *Rental Apartments for seniors: Most of these communities don't even offer leases but are month-to-month. Developers design them for an active, independent lifestyle. Eventually, you can consider hiring home care if it becomes necessary.

  • *Rent with services. These communities are like the rental communities, but they also include meals, housekeeping and a few to extensive services. These communities are good to a point. If you are no longer independent, you may need to move again. Each community varies in their policy.
  • *Assisted living communities with an independent living wing. These dual communities are good when only one spouse is not well and needs care, which is very common. The average age in most assisted living communities is older, in the 70's, and some have designations of being for 62+.
  • *Continuing care community - guarantees ones care for the rest of life. These usually require a large deposit and monthly fee. Best for people who know they will probably not move again. You enter them when you are still younger (50+) and active. Make sure the community is financially stable.
  • *Memory Care Communities: The memory goes too. Alzheimer's is on the rise. There now are communities dedicated just to care for those with dementia. Spouses would need their own housing elsewhere.

The average age for men passing is younger than it is for women. These service communities are filling up--mostly with women whose spouses have passed.


Your monthly costs are not just a mortgage, utilities and property tax. It becomes a flat fee to cover housing, meals, and services. That means it will blend all your costs of living into a new monthly amount, and it may be higher than you can afford. That is it's major flaw.

As more people turn to these communities for help, hopefully the costs would come down. For instance, when you buy your own groceries and cook your own meals, you can look for sales and cut back on costs. But at these communities, you cannot do that.

Look for affordable options now!:

I hope you have plenty of assets as you age. If ones assets eventually disappear, which is common, one may rely on the family for care. Unfortunately, today most families have two people working and no one is around to give you care. You'd best look at some affordable housing options for your old age. You'd better look now because the waiting lists are filling up.

Can You Stay Active

There is another downside to these communities: the temptation to get lazy.

That is one thing living in an over 55 community will give you: more activity and push to keep moving.

But at some point, the body wears down, and these service providing communities can fulfill ones needs.

It is a whole new world, the world of the aging senior. More and more, service providing communities vs over 55 communities are blending and evolving into a new identity.

I can see active 55 communities becoming more service oriented, and assisted living communities and service providers having more recreational and social programs as they have now begun doing.

So from over 55 communities to Service Providers and Assisted Living, and all the shades in between, there are ample choices. A lot depends on your life status in making those choices.