Baby Boomers and Charlottesville – What’s Next?

There have been quite a few stories recently discussing Baby Boomers, seniors, the Charlottesville area and their housing needs. The question is – where is the housing for those seeking to age in place, plan for the future or semi- (or fully) retire in the Charlottesville area –

In addition to the lack of housing for those seeking to achieve the above goals, location is key – coming back to my “close to stuff” principle – close to groceries, libraries, things to do … but why aren’t builders capitalizing on this demand? I’ve been asking this question for years, and it seems that like much else in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area (and really, the US as a whole) we’ll wait to benefit from hindsight to recognize what we should have done.

2005 – Where is the Senior Housing?

2006 – What happens after the baby boomers?

2007 – What happens after the baby boomers? Take Two.

The short story is – the Charlottesville area really is a wonderful place to live. But we need to plan for the future.

The Daily Progress recently published a good story describing how seniors add to the vitality of the Charlottesville area – Area offers much to seniors; seniors give back*

I’m often asked why so many people choose to stay in Charlottesville or relocate here after careers wind down and children are launched. The better question is: “Why not?” We are a great community, so why wouldn’t a person at 55 or 75 or 95 enjoy living here? Indeed, the greater Char-lottesville area is often cited as a world-class community.

From Charlottesville’s recognition in 2004 as America’s best city in which to live, to the University of Virginia’s consistent ranking as one of the nation’s best public universities, to the John Paul Jones Arena’s award as the nation’s best new concert venue, we take pride in being the best. And we have resources that are particularly inviting for people in the second half of life.

The Jefferson Area Board for Aging is one of America’s most respected and recognized agencies of its kind. The UVa Health System and Martha Jefferson Hospital consistently rank among the best in their fields.

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We can retire to a great life here in Charlottesville because we have many of the resources necessary for a high quality of life. Studies consistently show that the biggest challenge facing American communities as we age is the need to help seniors maintain their independence. Further research shows the key ingredients for independence are maintaining physical and mental wellness, continuing to have a purpose in life, and maintaining social connections and support. Fortunately, our community has many great opportunities for people to access the resources necessary to add quality to our later years.

To remain physically fit, we have fantastic outdoor recreation options and a wide variety of fitness clubs. To maintain mental fitness, we have excellent and accessible lifelong learning at the Miller Center and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (both associated with UVa) and at Piedmont Virginia Community College. There are countless options for staying socially engaged.

From the Consumerist:

Note to Baby Boomers: You might dress, look and behave significantly more youthful than your forebears, but you are still getting older. That inexorably means retirement and declining health. Unfortunately, a ton of the doctors currently practicing will be retiring along with you. The solution? More medical schools to churn out more M.D.s. After two decades in the ’80s and ’90s during which only one new medical school was opened in the U.S., approximately two dozen med schools have either recently opened or are in planning stages.

The HooK:

However, while Charlottesville is often touted as an attractive retirement destination for all those Boomers and offers several assisted living facilities, the Gardners discovered there weren’t many destinations they’d call home, especially in their price range. “It’s slim pickens for seniors out there,” says Lynne. “There are just not many houses in town designed for seniors.” And that would be houses with a master bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry all on the first floor— plus easy access to the street. Indeed, according to local realtor Jim Duncan, who picked up on this trend in 2005, out of the 1158 homes currently on the market in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area for under $1 million, only 143 have bedroom, kitchen, and laundry on the first floor, never mind a full bathroom.

* Links added by me.

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