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New choices for older buyers

Senior couple sit on steps outside their house, full length

As America ages, the housing industry is racing to provide desirable options

By Marilyn Kennedy Melia
CTW Features

The sheer number of Boomers is upping demand for new senior-geared options, according to Beth Burnham Mace of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

So agents can help seniors with all the new choices, the National Association of Realtors has training for a SRES (senior real estate specialist) designation, according to Skip Frenzel, SRES instructor.

Indeed, advice from legal or financial experts is also often needed, since some housing has unique requirements, like an entrance fee that’s refundable when the senior leaves.

Right now, niche affiliations are a trend, with communities aimed at groups like artists and musicians, retired NFL players and LBGT, according to Andrew Carle of George Mason University.

The most popular, Carle said, are communities affiliated with (and located near) a university.

Here, a look at options:

Active Adult (AA) Communities

Other than requiring residents be 55 or over, these look like other gated communities, with pools and amenities. What’s new, according to Mace, is these communities are being built near urban centers, instead of outer suburbs. The average age in AA communities is 65 to 75. Rental units are popular.

Independent Living (IL)

These apartments or homes offer a minimal number of services, such as one prepared meal daily. IL housing is often on the same site as communities providing more care (see below).

“People who move (into IL) are ‘planners,’ who want to stay in the same place if their health and independence declines,” Mace said.

Assisted Living (AL)

This category has seen big growth following the recession, since seniors who need this option would buy into it regardless of the economy, according to Mace. AL housing offers residents help with medication, showering and other basic needs.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

These include more intense nursing care, along with IL and AL housing on the same site.

© CTW Features

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