According to this article on MinnPost, the debate rages on about where older Americans should relocate as they age. The article notes that with the growing population of the elderly, we need to find places for them to reside. Unfortunately due to factors like lack of transit, the recession and housing market crash, and simply a lack of desire, most elderly Americans simply want to stay in place and create a negative situation for themselves.
From the article:
Of course, you can do those things anywhere, but elderly people, especially those facing the challenge of physical decline, will probably find it easier to continue doing them in an urban setting.
Why? In suburbia, you have to drive. In a city, you can walk or take the bus or other public transit. At the very least, you can grab a taxi.
Some boomers have already voted with their feet, moving into cities or to suburban town centers. Minneapolis, along with other urban areas, has seen a revival of some of its downtown neighborhoods by an influx of affluent elderly.
But for the most part, boomers, some 84 percent, say that they want to “age in place.” A 2009 MetLife Foundation study found that 62 percent of people aged 55 and over say they plan to stay in suburbia. And, many of them have no choice. The collapse in housing prices during the Great Recession and an inability to sell — or to sell at the price they need — has kept them trapped in their large suburban manses.
While cities, like Apple Valley, are trying to place senior housing in planned suburban city centers and somewhat near mass transit lines as well as build new senior centers, it may be simply too much to ask seniors to follow through in these trying times.
But with numbers like those quoted in the article (15% fewer trips to the doctor and 59 percent fewer to shop and eat out, etc) it seems like the single best thing to do is attract seniors to city centers where the infrastructure already exists to support a car-free lifestyle and doesn’t require more tax breaks and possible tax dollar infusion to get started.
What are your thoughts about where seniors should live to support a car-free lifestyle as they age? Do you think that suburban senior development is a good idea or do you think they should be brought back into the city center? Do you think that with the reverse flight from suburbia by the middle class that seniors will be squeezed for room? Whatever you have to say please share it below!