As an Elder Law Attorney in the Boston, MA area, I am excited to see new and creative housing options for seniors. Almost 25% of seniors over the age of 65 are planning on aging alone. No one wants to be lonely in life, especially as they get older. Here are a few options for seniors that are looking for a community:
· Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), (Independent or Assisted Living) offer a wonderful option for seniors interested in a community where they can age in place. Many seniors in their 70s think they are too young for this. Moving into an independent living apartment while you are still active and engaged gives you a chance to make friends, enjoy an easier lifestyle with at least one meal per day, and not have to worry about maintenance. As you age if you need more care, these communities are ready to provide what you need. The only downside is that it can be expensive. Some communities require a hefty upfront fee before moving in ($300,000 or more), plus a monthly rent. The fee is usually mostly refundable when move out or die. Others only require monthly rent, usually starting at $4,000 per month and often much higher.
· Senior Housing: For some CCRCs may be too expensive. In Massachusetts, most towns offer affordable apartments for seniors who meet certain financial requirements. Usually, the rent will be one third of your income, and there is no limit on how much money you can have in assets. Most senior housing apartments provide some social support and activities for the residents. If you need more care in the future, and meet the financial requirements, MassHealth offers excellent programs for seniors that wish to stay living in the community, but need more care.
· Shared Housing/With a Young Person: Many of my clients live in their homes alone and have more space than they need. Nesterly.com offers a safe way to find a tenant to live with you in your home, often a young person or college student for a reduced rent. If desired, the young person can help you with tasks like running errands, grocery shopping, shoveling, mowing the lawn, etc. Nesterly conducts background checks and requires references for all tenants. They also take care of collecting the rent and rental agreements. The minimum commitment is 30 days. Overall, I think that is a wonderful way for seniors, especially those aging alone, to find companionship and also have some help. I am very impressed by the background checks and references.
· Shared Housing/ Roomates: There are several websites, such as SeniorHomeShares.com and Silvernest.com, which help seniors find other seniors interested in sharing housing. This seems like a creative and affordable idea. Maybe you don’t like the idea of living in a large complex and are looking for a more intimate setting with one or two roommates. It worked out well for the “Golden Girls”, maybe it can work for you, too? If you are considering this idea, I would be very careful about screening any potential roommates. Unfortunately, I have seen too many cases of elder abuse. I am sure that this option can work well for many people, but please be careful. I recommend a background check on any potential roommate and trying to get to know them a bit fist before moving in together.
· Co-Housing: Co-housing offers a warm and supportive community, offering individual living spaces but sharing common spaces. Residents frequently get together for meals, celebrations, and to support each other. The first senior co-housing community in New England, HagerHomestead.com designed for those over 55 is currently under construction in Littleton, MA. There may be a few spots still left, so if you are interested you should contact this group as soon as possible. There are also several multigenerational co-housing opportunities in the Boston area, including a new development in Malden, Bay Sate Commons: https://www.baystatecommons.org/.
It can be overwhelming to figure out what options may make the most sense for you. If you are aging alone, without the support of family or close friends, we are ready to assist along the way. Our Aging Allies program is designed to help solo seniors. Please call our office at 617-489-5900 or schedule a brief free consultation by clicking: https://seniorsolutions.as.me/FreeConsultKathy
Senior Solutions, Attorneys at Law, is an Elder Law and Estate Planning law firm, serving the Greater Boston, Massachusetts area, since 2001. We are ready to help you with Medicaid Planning, Estate Planning, Probate, Guardianship & Conservatorships, Special Needs Trusts, and Fiduciary Services. Our office is located at 30 Church Street, Suite 210, Belmont, MA 02478.