Remember The Golden Girls , the endearing TV show featuring three slightly wacky female friends “of a certain age” and one hilarious take-no-prisoners mother? After living full lives, four older (and completely different) women came together in a living arrangement that enriched each of their lives - and kept viewers in stitches. Beatrice Arthur as Dorothy, a teacher; Betty White as Rose, a TV news assistant; Rue McClanahan as Blanche and Estelle Getty as Dorothy’s mom Sophia shared their ups and downs, families and careers, joys and sorrows, loves lost and found and hopes and fears for their futures. They had each other. They supported each other. And we loved that. While Rue’s wealthy character Blanche owned the home the Golden Girls lived in, she valued the camaraderie and mutual support from the feisty women she shared it with. We know that social isolation can cause older adults to be sicker, die sooner and have higher health care and other expenses. The good news? Shared or co-housing, an old idea brought to life in this 1980’s TV sitcom, is again gaining momentum. Today, aging homeowners who don’t have enough money to maintain their cherished nest or can’t afford to enter a senior living community are seeking social connections and cost-sharing with their own versions of Golden Girls-style living. Across the country, seniors are connecting with others in shared housing , cohousing and village style organizations , reports Paula Span in the New York Times . These living arrangements confer many benefits: shared cost of home maintenance, utilities, food, among others. More than financial relief for the participants: they create family-like supportive communities where co-habitants look out for each other, often sharing the cost of a home aide or other in-home care service. Want to find out more about shared housing, cohousing and village options in your area? Check out these resources: NOLO.com’s primer on Senior Homesharing The National Shared Housing Resource Center now supports 50+ organizations in 16 states that facilitate homesharing matches 6 Creative Housing Options | AARP Village to Village Network Looking for help to plan a quality life for you or a loved one as you age? Check out Aging in Place Toolkit ’s information and resource library. Need an advisor to help you put the pieces in place? Contact us here or give us a call at 774-377-5818.
The New York Times posted my response in a letter to the editor, Sunday, 9/15/2019, discussing the pro the pros and cons of assisted living and the options for elder care. Families will have to make tough decisions as we and loved ones age.
Here it is my letter without the link, but you might want to check out other responses click the Assisted Living: Is It the Right Choice? I will appreciate any feedback about your aging in place or assisted living experience.
Thank You Ira
To the Editor: My family has had nightmare experiences with assisted living facilities. I suggest that “buyer beware” is the best way to evaluate them. Even if a loved one lives in a quality facility, the family still needs to be involved and vigilant. The way things are moving now, the only good assisted living options will be within expensive life care communities, exacerbating the growing division between the “haves” and “have-nots” in our society. “ Money Follows the Person ” care models, such as the one in my state of Connecticut, pay family members to manage care for loved ones with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other illnesses. Still to be determined: How will these families be trained and supported long term? It is the rapidly aging baby boomers like me who must support new policies that improves access and creates greater oversight of assisted living facilities — policies that balance the burden for families. Ira Yellen
Glastonbury CT Founder aginginplacetoolkit.com
Don't wait till it is too late.
Retirement financial advisors should consider these major topics in their relationship building approach for clients. These are some “pain points” that a retiree might face.
Running out of money before I die Unforeseen tax obligations Afford to age in place in their home (also senior living community) Fear of end of life in a nursing home Giving up a regular income Leaving money for my family “The average 65-year-old today will live another 20 years. While this new-found longevity is a bonus, it also poses challenges when it comes to affording a longer life and staying healthy and independent as long as possible. We know that millions of older adults are financially insecure, or at risk of becoming so in the future” National Council on Aging President and CEO Jim Firman
A Nationwide Retirement Institute survey conducted by Harris Poll found only 45% of future retirees are planning on talking about health care costs with a financial advisor, which is less than those wanting to talk about taxes (59%) and retirement costs (58%). In addition, two-thirds of future retirees wish they understood Medicare coverage better.
“For half of Americans currently in retirement, Social Security is the main source of income and has kept many people out of dire poverty.” Jeff Sommer writes Strategies for the New York Times on markets, finance and the economy.
Some Facts: Almost 80% of the aging populations are hoping to stay in their homes for the rest of their lives. Aging in place is one of the biggest trends in senior living because people are living longer Institute on Aging facts about U.S. aging population CCRC Senior Living Communities cost between $5,000 to $10,000 per month Out of pocket End-of-Life Cost considerations to maintain transfer of wealth
A Typical Scenario of a Woman in Her 50s with over $500,000 in assets “I’ve lived in my home for 26 years. I’ve invested a lot in it. I love my neighborhood. I’m attached to it. But I’m clear on one thing: No amount of modifications or remodeling would make it livable if my health and mobility were to head south. Thus, I’m already working on my future plan: To sell within the next five to seven years and move to a one-floor, open floor plan, low maintenance residence. Whether it’s a one-floor house, an apartment or a condominium, my next home will have the features I’ll need to live safely and happily during the next decades of my life, come what may.”
What should she ask and learn about from a professional financial advisor? Have I: Estimated the financial resources needed to retire and age in place? Begun to assess how your home could be altered for your future living needs? Contacted a senior living design or remodeling professional? Taken stock of all the stuff that you could sell or give to your kids? Explored alternative housing options? If over 50, it’s not too early to begin this process. Figured end of life options transfer of wealth to the family. Go to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards website to learn more about what to know before selecting a financial planner.