Thursday, February 18, 2016

Are We Ready For The Growth of Elderly Homeowners?

With millions of Baby Boomers approaching retirement, it is important that we address the challenges associated with meeting the nation’s elderly housing needs.

Your HOA board will be facing pressing issues with the rise of elderly homeowners. In past generations, those 65 or older would eventually move into assisted living or retirement homes. But the modern day is seeing more elderly folks deciding to live out more of their older years in their own homes. Seniors are living healthier lifestyles, having better medical care and are active in their retirement years. Seniors are buying homes and taking out mortgages. With this comes new challenges and decisions for those running homeowners associations.

Here are four areas that HOA's need to consider when dealing with elderly homeowners.

1.  Accidents on Common Property

A major concern with the rising number of elderly residents means there’s increased chance of  accidents. Elderly residents can lose their balance, trip and fall or hurt themselves on common property in the community. HOA's insurance usually covers issues happening on common area property.

2.  Driving

There’s also the possibility of elder residents being a danger to themselves or others, such as if they have sight issues driving in a community with children and pets. Elderly residents could endanger the lives of walkers on the streets if driving becomes a problem. Elderly residents are also at risk of hurting themselves by driving into objects, light poles or even their house structures.

3.  Home safety is a primary concern

If adult children are not maintaining homes of senior citizens, who is? Home maintenance and home repairs are key to seniors being able to stay safe in their homes. Homes with needed repairs may be unsafe. If adult children do live nearby and have nor designated a caregiver of home maintenance, elderly residents could be injured because unsafe structures.

4.  Access to needed services 

For senior citizens to remain in their homes they need availability to services such as meals and in home nursing services. The elderly residents need to be in communities that are accessible for elderly service providers.

There will be a growing number of concerns as the number of elderly homeowners increase. Between 2000 and 2050, The number of older people is projected to increase by 135%. And the population of people 85 and over is projected to increase by 350%.  With this increase will come the problem of meeting the enormous housing need.

Senior citizens are now living healthier lifestyles and having longer lifespan. Elderly people are not moving into assisted living homes they are buying homes or condos.  Many seniors moving into communities are just not able to deal with the fact that they cannot effectively care for themselves as they age. And as a result, they turn to their condo association for help when they get lost or forget that they have left the tub water running.  So what is a condo association board of directors to do when they find an elderly resident wandering the halls, unable to determine where they live? Obviously, the condominium association has an interest in ensuring that these seniors are able to care for themselves so that they don't create a burden for management or the board.  They also concerned about an unhealthy or unsafe situation for themselves and their neighbors. 

The question is are community associations ready for the growth of elderly homeowners?

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