Retirement Blog

Finance Blogs » Retirement Blog » New ideas for aging in place

New ideas for aging in place

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

Staying in our own homes as we age is a retirement planning goal for many of us.

But staying put in retirement can be expensive and difficult, especially if, like many of us, you live in an older home in a suburban neighborhood where getting around the house requires climbing steps, home maintenance is a constant issue, and practically nothing is within walking distance.

So I read "Independent for Life,"  a book edited by former Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros and written by a team of experts on aging, with considerable interest.

Cisneros introduces "Independent for Life" with a discussion of his own 85-year-old widowed mother's experience living in a small house in an older neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas. Using that as a backdrop, the book follows up with a comprehensive look at a wide range of potential solutions to the problems of living independently when you are old, including remodeling or building for accessibility and safety. Then it expands the discussion to include ways to retrofit older neighborhoods to make services accessible. The book offers a road map for working with community leaders and governments to find financing and get support and approvals.

Some of the ideas seem so obvious that it's surprising that it isn't done that way everywhere. For instance, in Swampscott, Mass., 15 miles north of Boston, the high school built in 2007 includes space for a senior center, allowing older people to use school facilities -- such as gyms, lecture halls, art and music studios, etc. -- when students aren't. When the community ran short on money to run the school library, seniors stepped up and volunteered to take on the task.

The book also talks about the City of Santa Cruz, Calif., which has begun to encourage the addition of mother-in-law or granny suites to existing houses in neighborhoods that are some of the priciest in the country.  The program includes technical assistance to help homeowners identify the possibilities; a wage subsidy to help homeowners hire licensed contractors and a loan program with loans up to $100,000. The goal is to allow older people to live near but not with their children -- or vice versa.

I'm sure there are plenty of other good ideas along these lines in other parts of the country. If you are aware of one or have a great idea of your own, please share your thoughts below, and I'll feature some of them in future blogs.

Bankrate wants to hear from you and encourages comments. We ask that you stay on topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, and illegal content. Please keep in mind that we reserve the right to (but are not obligated to) edit or delete your comments. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

By submitting a post, you agree to be bound by Bankrate's terms of use. Please refer to Bankrate's privacy policy for more information regarding Bankrate's privacy practices.
July 19, 2012 at 10:50 am

My Take on It / November 13, 2011 The show could be a matter of monhts or years could again or type of funding they were selected. Perhaps, what was your credit score. 8% sounds like a sentence for someone with marginal credit.

yvonne lane
June 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Is it true that Ford is often the retire management a buy out. If true why not the survivors spouse.