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Senior living costs get lower as middle income seniors struggle

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According to data recently released by national senior living referral service, A Place for Mom, the rates for independent living and assisted living have remained relatively steady compared to general real estate value and inflation.

“Construction of new facilities has also led to lower occupancy rates and stable pricing for senior care home operators,” Sue Johansen, vice president of partner services with A Place for Mom, told USA Today. “As competition increases between facilities, facilities have pushed to attract residents with deals and options.”

According to A Place for Moms, the fasted growing areas for assisted living communities include Minneapolis, Portland, and Los Angeles.

This comes during an important time when, according to another report from Health Affairs, middle income seniors are having serious trouble affording private living. On the other hand, they don’t qualify for subsidized nursing home care without being forced to spend down their assets. This group of “forgotten middle” includes retired teachers, government workers, and first responders.

“This is a cohort that hasn’t been paid much attention to,” Beth Burnham Mace, coauthor of the report, told the Boston Globe. “These are people who provided amazing services to society, and it’s important that there’s housing and care they can afford.”

Unaffordable houses, combined with an increase in spend among seniors who retire, only further complicates the easy. Studies have found that many seniors are taking advantage of new activities that they wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise, and filling their new non-workdays by spending more than normal. In fact, one study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 45.9% of households spent more than what they had spent before retirement.

Better government response and private sector attention will help steer results in a positive direction. Today, developers can find an architecture company that specializes in assisted living development. Design strategies should increase the comfort and safety for senior citizens, help to enhance the quality of life for the senior population, and incorporate creative solutions that take their physical capabilities into consideration. And most importantly, they should be more accessible to seniors of all income classes.

“It’s still a very good real estate market for most of the country and many seniors who move into senior living are liquidating real estate to do that,” Johansen said. “So you’re selling at a high time but getting in at a time when rates are pretty stable and promotional activity is aggressive. All of those factors combine to create the perfect storm in terms of timing for families to make that decision.”