People are living longer, and many seniors prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible.
While more services are available today to seniors living at home including lawn care, meal delivery, companionship, transportation, grocery delivery, medication delivery, online shopping, and nursing care, there comes a time for most people when makes it makes sense to move to a senior community. Communities for active adults 55+ years old are becoming more common, attracting seniors to their “downsized” homes. In addition, there are many other types of senior living communities.
Across the nation, baby boomers are aging and the demand for various levels of senior housing is high. Senior housing can be a major component in a family’s decision to move to a new location or stay in the same location. The supply and pricing of available senior housing can have a significant effect on when and where families move today.
Realtors have made a concerted effort to learn about senior housing choices, so they can help families with their unique housing needs. The National Association of Realtors has developed a designation, SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist). Realtors who have earned this designation have made a commitment to educate themselves to specifically help seniors with the financial and emotional challenges of selling their family home and moving on to the next chapter in their lives.
In Colorado, an age wave is beginning to sweep the state. According to the federal Administration on Aging and U.S. News and World Report, Colorado was the third-fastest aging state in the U.S. in 2018. The Colorado State Demography Office projects that by 2030, Colorado’s 65+ population will be 77 percent larger than it was in 2015.
Boulder County is also fast-aging, and 20 percent of our population will be aged 65+ in just 12 years from now.
To get an idea of how we are doing in Boulder, I interviewed Katie Colbert, the Sales Director at Brookdale North Boulder, a senior independent living community.
Duane Duggan: Senior housing is in great demand. Are there very many options in Boulder?
Katie Colbert: in the senior living industry, we are getting ready for what the experts call the “silver tsunami”. The expected wave of baby boomers has caused a huge increase in construction, and an overall shift in senior living communities. In Boulder we are lucky to have high quality of all levels of Senior Housing and Care available in a wide variety of communities and prices.
Duane Duggan: What are the different levels of senior care?
Katie Colbert: Independent Living is for a senior might still be driving a car but wants all the meals prepared and no worries about taking care of a home. Independent living residents are free to come and go as they please, but a variety of levels of help and support are available.
Assisted Living is the next step where the senior needs help with some daily tasks of personal care and some medical care.
Skilled Nursing is for seniors who have a need for a higher level of medical care. This is typically for someone needing skilled services on a consistent basis, often for the recovery of an injury or illness.
Memory Care are communities for residents with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. They are assisted living communities by license with additional provisions i.e., security and programming.
Duane Duggan: What are the price ranges for senior housing in Boulder?
Katie Colbert: There is a wide variety of prices due to the wide variety of services that are offered. In a very general sense, a studio unit in an independent living community might be in the $2,000 per month range. For 24/7 memory care, it could approach $10,000 a month.
Duane Duggan: How do families plan for the expense of senior housing?
Katie Colbert: What’s interesting is that the move from a home that a senior owns to an independent living community is usually a pretty smooth transition financially. Once they sell their home and move in, they no longer have to pay separately for taxes, insurance, lawn care, property maintenance, groceries for meals, utilities, etc. All of those expenses are included, so once they make the comparison, pricing for Independent living can be very reasonable.
The transition to assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care creates a much heavier financial burden. The key here is to consult with a financial planner and/or attorney familiar with senior issues well in advance of the need. An attorney familiar with Medicaid can help determine if aid is available. There are also long-term care health insurance policies that can be purchased with varying lengths of coverage. If a senior is a veteran, companies such as Patriot Angels can help qualifying veterans receive Veterans Administration benefits such as veteran pension funds and services.
Duane Duggan: Thank you so much for this helpful information, Katie. We are fortunate that to age well and live well in Boulder County, we have broad network of housing choices. Our community is aware of the coming demographic changes and it’s preparing. For your family’s needs, look for a Realtor with an SRES designation, a level of training that enables your Realtor to more deeply understand your unique needs and challenges, and help transition your family with sensitivity and care.
By Duane Duggan. Duane has been a Realtor for RE/MAX of Boulder in Colorado since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career, the vast majority from repeat and referred clients. He has been awarded two of the highest honors bestowed by RE/MAX International: The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Legends Award. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, Realtor for Life. For questions, e-mail DuaneDuggan@boulderco.com, call 303.441.5611 or visit boulderco.com.