#AGING in the HOAs▶ #SocialCurrentSee

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Alta♥CITIES▶ http://flip.it/5B7382 ▶ via @flipboard

WHO▶ Let's take a moment to look at the relationships between older adults, their needs, and common interest developments, aka HOAs. For discussion sake, let us identify anyone 65 years or older as an ‘older adult.’ Our HOA community is reserved for 55+, but really, the population here is definitely 65+. Of course, not everyone in that age group has challenges or needs special accommodation, but there are other age-related factors for HOA owners and boards to consider.

WHAT▶ First, it is important to understand that the total US population is aging. California, as we know is home to millions of Baby Boomers, now en masse entering the 65+ category at a faster rate. The so-called Golden State seems well-positioned to handle this aging phenomenon, compared to other states. For example, the state is generally considered to be the indisputable home to some of the nation's best universities and teaching hospitals, so health care needs are certainly covered well here. This reality means seniors can remain in their homes longer without needing to leave for any special accommodation. The abundant, warm sunshine (and the vitamin D it provides) are also supportive of a happy, healthy life. However, there are, certainly, those older adults that will need medical care or other support at or very close to their homes – and not everyone has a family member or friend to rely on.

WHEN▶ So how do HOAs fit into the discussion? Is it really a concern for HOA boards and managers (and owners!) to worry about the needs of older adults when they have so much else on their plate? In short, the answer is probably yes. In California, there are over 43,300 HOAs with over 7 million residents (source). According to official state projections, California’s population age 65 and older will nearly double over the next twenty years from 4.3 million in 2010 to 8.4 million in 2030. This will occur as the huge baby boomer cohort— the population born from 1946 to 1964—ages beyond 65. HOAs already have or will soon have a majority of this age demographic.

WHERE▶ For master-planned HOAs, like the one where we reside, Trilogy Glen Ivy in the Temescal Valley of Southern California, for example, accommodating older adults might be done more easily, with a large recreation center and large staff, than is possible for smaller HOAs without even a club house. Those smaller HOAs can consider these points:

▶ Are there architectural design guidelines that would prohibit or restrict the construction of ramps?
▶ For single-family-detached HOAs, do contracts include landscape maintenance and debris removal for all homes (or maybe just those who might need a helping hand)?

  • For multi-story condo buildings (say 2-4), is there an elevator? (Yes for TGI!)
  • If not, what accommodations is the HOA willing to provide for a longtime, but now mobility challenged, homeowner (especially one who may not be able to afford relocating)? 
  • Are the association’s governing documents silent on the issue of the needs of older adults? 
  • If not, what do they say? If many residents are aging, what accommodations are present for emergency personnel?

WHY▶ Beyond what may be available at one’s current HOA, aging folks might want to look at other communities that can better accommodate their changing needs and still permit them to enjoy the benefit of living in a common interest community. One idea is to look at HOAs located near transit. Often called TODs, transit oriented developments (e.g. planned communities built along light rail or a popular bus line) can offer immediate access to transportation and oftentimes other services applicable to the needs of older adults.

HOW▶ We hope this post was thought provoking! If you have any other questions about the needs of older adults and what that means for your HOA, please feel free to reach out to us at ...
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