I support age friendly units and buildings. They benefit all. For example, who would be offended by rounded corners on counters, a walk-in shower or a shelf to park a purse while searching for a key? The Council on Aging has criteria to follow, most related to universal design. So, age friendly for sure. But I wish to speak to cost friendly, as well.
Why is cost friendly important? If not cost friendly, than age friendly may not benefit many seniors seeking to downsize. Market rate must be cost friendly, that is, a move to a market rate unit must not be more costly than remaining in one’s home. At present, for many beyond eligibility for affordable units, moving to single level modern units means more expense than remaining in a home. Costing this out carefully shows that a two bedroom, two bathroom unit at $4,000 monthly would be almost $20,000 more a year given a paid-off mortgage home. Who would do that? Probably some seniors desperate for single level living, meaning no stairs. Less space and more cost for most is not an incentive to move. Investor-driven development plans facing the council, such as for Northland, Washington Street and Riverside offer many hundreds of residential units. There is a senior population in Newton, I believe, to fill many of these apartments; however, the incentive for people to move is to age friendly (one level), modern units, say 1,200 square feet, and cost friendly, that is comparable in cost to their homes.
I realize the dilemma since market rate units add to the subsidy of affordable units. The more affordable units in a development then, by logic, the higher the market rate unit cost to subsidize the affordable. In contemplating a downsize, many seniors seek to spend some home equity for purposes other than a costly apartment, such as college tuition for grandkids, personal health costs and even supporting family members. Not many are on world cruises. The point is, they do not wish to incur more monthly expense with any move as they adjust to smaller space.
My message is age friendly and cost friendly units if plans are to successfully market to seniors.
Joyce Kadis Picard
Halcyon Road, Newton