“The need is great and growing for accessible, affordable housing” | maybe this is one step toward satisfying that need?
Shuttered stores dominate the interior of the Schuylkill Mall which has closed and been demolished in Frackville, Pennsylvania.
This article at Pennlive today, “Dead and dying malls of Pennsylvania, updated: More shopping centers are bleeding retailers.” prompted a revisited look at an idea that’s being floated across the nation.
What will become of these once-popular retail centers? Demolish them? Re-store them? Re-purpose them?
“The retail apocalypse has not been kind to malls. Credit Suisse recently studied the state of mall-based retail and predicted that that about one-fourth of the nation’s 1,100 shopping malls — or roughly 220 to 275 shopping centers — will close by 2022.”
The above is the lead paragraph from this Forbes Magazine article: “Why Malls Should Add Residential To Their Repurposing Plans.”
Te idea that malls offer ideal solutions for affordable, accessible residences is one that has to be considered. Many malls already are on public transportation routes; they already have plenty of parking and they’re “walkable.”
This white paper by New York State Assemblyman Stephen Englebright points out other benefits for older adults and people with disabilities:
- Mixed-use development that includes housing, shopping, amenities, and
access to transportation and professional offices provides easy, often
walkable, access to necessities for daily living and substantially reduces or eliminates use of personal cars—thereby, (1) helping non-driving older people and people with disabilities to remain independent for much longer periods of time, (2) keeping these individuals integrated with others in the community, and (3) significantly supporting the caregiving efforts of family members.
- Subsidized housing in place of distressed or vacant strip malls, or developed above prosperous malls, helps address the State’s significant need for additional affordable housing, thereby helping to keep seniors and people with disabilities living in their own communities instead of relocating.
- Small numbers of affordable units above a box store or strip mall, or incorporated as a component of a mixed-income larger redevelopment of a shopping center furthers the integration of low- and moderate-income families and individuals into the wider community.
Another Forbes Magazine shares the thought: “4 Models Of The Shopping Mall Of The Future.”
In Providence, RI, “You Can Now Live Inside America’s First Shopping Mall for $550 a Month: But there’s already a waiting list for these new micro apartments.”
Many older adults want to grow old at home. As a caregiver, you can help by arranging supports for the person (and for yourself)!
- Personal care. Is bathing, washing hair, or dressing getting harder to do? As a caregiver, you can help. Or you could hire a trained aide for a short time each day.
- Household chores. Does the person need help with chores like house cleaning, yard work, grocery shopping, or laundry? Some grocery stores and drugstores will take an order over the phone or online and bring the items to the person’s home. There are cleaning and yard services you can hire, or maybe someone you know has a housekeeper or gardener to suggest. Some housekeepers will help with laundry. Some dry cleaners will pick up and deliver your clothes.
- Meals. Worried about your loved one not eating nutritious meals or being tired of eating alone? Encourage eating with others. Find out if meals are served at a nearby senior center or house of worship. Meal delivery programs bring hot meals into your home; some of these programs are free or low-cost.
- Money management. Many caregivers lend a hand in bill paying and money management. Volunteers, financial counselors, or geriatric care managers can also help. Just make sure you get the referral from a trustworthy source, like your local Area Agency on Aging. Learn more about legal and financial planning for older adults.
- Health care. You can help an older person set out medications for a week at a time using pill boxes. Ask the person if they would like company at medical appointments so you can take notes on what the doctor or nurse says. If the person is hospitalized and needs nursing care at home for a short time, make sure to talk with the hospital discharge planner to get help making arrangements.
Visit our website to learn more about aging in place
“The Quest for the Multigenerational City | The lives of the young and the old rarely cross in many American cities.” – CityLab
by Megan Kimble
“Faye is stressed out about the craft room in her condominium. ‘I get very overwhelmed when I try to clean it,’ she tells me when I arrive on the doorstep of her condo one hot Tuesday evening in June.
“She’d submitted a request for volunteer help through Capital City Village, a nonprofit in Austin, Texas, that helps older people age in their homes and communities, and I, a volunteer, had responded.
“’That’s OK, I love to organize,’ I say.
“’Well, I hope so,’ she says, already worrying as she invites me in and sits me down on the couch. She asks me to tell her about myself. She is skeptical: Why am I spending my Tuesday evening helping a retiree I’d never met clean her apartment?”
This Time Magazine article begins, “Global life expectancy averages out to 71.4 years. That means, of course, that some parts of the world see much shorter life spans, while others enjoy far greater longevity.
“Five places, in particular, fall into the latter category. They’re known as Blue Zones —named for the blue circles researchers drew to identify the first one on a map — and they’re home to some of the oldest and healthiest people in the world. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones and The Blue Zones Solution, told TIME why residents of these places live so long—and how you can steal their habits.”
AN OPINION: “Older adult finances and future senior housing options are out of sync” – Aging In Place Technology Watch
Rant on. A sad tale – reading the lament about the numbers of seniors who will not be able to afford assisted living in 10 years. The report is from NIC – the National Investment Center that provides research to the senior living industry. The upshot – 54% will be unable to pay the $60,000 average annual cost of assisted living (make that $93,000 in Washington DC), even if they sell their home. If one member of a couple is still living in the home, the number rises to 81%. According to the study, 60% of the population aged 75+ will have mobility, cognitive impairment or chronic conditions that would characterize them as good candidates for assisted living services and settings – but will not have the savings to enable them to move in.
There are some problems with this study’s message to the industry. First the affordability gap of assisted living and the population that could benefit. This has been a statistical fixture forever (move in age of 85 noted in 2012 and again in 2015). What has changed, if anything, is life expectancy. For those aged 65+, living into the late 80s or even the 90s is increasingly likely. Looking at life expectancy lasting to mid-to-late 80s combined with average savings for those aged 75+ of $16,025 for a couple with no children, it is no wonder that the steady state penetration of assisted living remains stuck at 10% of the likely population, at least according to the industry. According to NCAL, seniros stay 22 months on average, before moving to skilled nursing. With assisted living occupancy at 85% being attributed to over-building, but one might also posit that price-plus-life expectancy keeps even the willing and interested at home.
Consider the operating margin of 34% and the real cost – can tech help? This industry has been a real estate investment play from the very beginning. One executive interviewed for the NIC study observed, reluctantly, that margins could be compressed to create more affordable options, perhaps by building on less expensive land. Hopefully not from robbing the pay of CNAs who do the real hands-on labor – their average pay of $11-12/hour nationwide can’t be pushed down much further. Maybe high-end food choices could be trimmed, the lobby furniture more modest, or the long-shot on operational costs, noted in the Health Affairs the study: “Technology is already driving innovation. The implementation of an ever-expanding panoply of high-tech solutions such as artificial intelligence, voice technology, smart phone apps, smart sensors, and telehealth can help improve quality of life, and care, while reducing costs.” Right.
The margin question is about people — how to need fewer or boost pay to recruit. The staff-to-resident ratios may, in some states, already be too thin to handle assisted living memory care residents. For families of a resident, that means supplementing the $60K annual cost with the hidden cost of needed private duty home care aides (same hourly rate). For many, that additional cost may drive families elsewhere, to nursing homes or back home. But the real problem will limit expansion of assisted living is a shortage of available workers — for assisted living, skilled nursing and home care. Where to recruit this low-paid workforce in a high employment time, competing with wage levels of Walmart and McDonald’s? Finally, will we read the same lament in 10 years about the large population of now-aged boomers who cannot afford assisted living? Count on it. Rant off.
How much do you know about the “age-friendly world?” Perhaps the place to begin is to get some background insight into the World Health Organization’s initiative.
“A key strategy to facilitate the inclusion of older persons is to make our world more age-friendly. An age-friendly world enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities and treats everyone with respect, regardless of their age. It is a place that makes it easy for older people to stay connected to people that are important to them. And it helps people stay healthy and active even at the oldest ages and provides appropriate support to those who can no longer look after themselves.”
“A new report on the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities reviews achievements since the founding of the Network in 2007, challenges and how to overcome them, and together with its Affiliate programs, outlines steps to guide action over the next decade. Eleven accompanying case studies from members of the Network around the world examine local age-friendly programmes in depth.”
The March 24, 2019 LNP – Always Lancaster carried a special newspaper supplement entitled Progress 2019. A story about The magazine-sized insert
The American Association of Retired Persons [AARP] also has its AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.
In Pennsylvania, these are AARP’s Age-Friendly Communities:
- Allegheny County: Joined: 2015 | Population: 925,521 | Survey | Action Plan
- Lancaster: Joined: 2018
- Lehigh County: Joined: 2018 | Population: 360,685
- Northampton County: Joined: 2018 | Population: 299,791
- Philadelphia: Joined: 2012* | Population: 1.58 million | Survey | Article
- Pittsburgh: Joined: 2015 | Population: 305,700 | Interview | Survey | Action Plan
- Swarthmore: Joined: 2017 | Population: 6,194
- West Chester: Joined: 2016* | Population: 18,968 | Action Plan
Lancaster, PA – March, 2019 – Integrated Platform Services LLC today announced a new subscription check-in and reporting service for families of seniors who live independently. The service, named Constance™, targets the families of the 87% of Americans over the age of 65 who, according to AARP, would prefer to live on their own.
Constance™ provides daily human interaction with seniors to check on mood, meals, medications, appointments, and more. The check-ins are used to generate electronic updates for family members — typically members of the “sandwich generation” who find it increasingly difficult to balance support for their aging parents with managing their own busy lives. With a focus on overall wellbeing, Constance™ addresses the most important factors impacting healthcare outcomes: early detection of medical conditions, care plan adherence, and social engagement.
The service is delivered by carefully selected and trained team who call each senior for a personalized, one-on-one conversation. Unlike other personal care services, the reports are immediately available to family members via a smartphone app on iOS and Android devices.
Families using the service have confidence that the needs of their loved one will be identified and reported, allowing them to continue living independently. Constance subscriber Suzette Mullen commented, “My sister and I look forward to getting the reports every day. The daily updates have really connected us as we navigate (my mom’s) care from a distance.” Members also look forward to interacting with the Constance Family Coordinators. A senior using the service, Patricia Roberts, recently said, “It made me feel very safe to know you were calling me this morning.”
CEO and cofounder Henry Yaeger commented, “We started Constance because we want to apply business solutions to a huge and growing societal challenge. Demographic shifts and longer distances are leaving families unprepared for the demands of supporting their loved ones as they age. Our service allows seniors to continue to live independently, while giving their families the comfort of knowing they are always being looked after.”
– news release
Constance is a service of Integrated Platform Services LLC, a company based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Constance helps seniors maintain independence by facilitating communication between seniors, their family members, and others. The high-touch service is supported by a cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant platform that enables the Constance team to efficiently provide services, while native mobile apps keep family members informed. Constance is a Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources partner entity.
“Ramona Labrensz with a photo of her husband Harold at her home in Mobridge, S.D. When the local nursing home where he was living failed, Mr. Labrensz was transferred to another nursing home 220 miles away in North Dakota.” Credit Kristina Barker for The New York Times
by Jack Healy
“MOBRIDGE, S.D. — Harold Labrensz spent much of his 89-year life farming and ranching the rolling Dakota plains along the Missouri River. His family figured he would die there, too.
“But late last year, the nursing home in Mobridge, S.D., that cared for Mr. Labrensz announced that it was shutting down after a rocky history of corporate buyouts, unpaid bills and financial ruin. It had become one of the many nursing homes across the country that have gone out of business in recent years as beds go empty, money troubles mount and more Americans seek to age in their own homes.
“For Mr. Labrensz, though, the closure amounted to an eviction order from his hometown. His wife, Ramona, said she could not find any nursing home nearby to take him, and she could not help him if he took a fall at home. So one morning in late January, as a snowstorm whited out the prairie, Mr. Labrensz was loaded into the back of a small bus and sent off on a 220-mile road trip to a nursing home in North Dakota.”
We’ve been reading so much about advantages that aging persons can accrue with the introduction of emerging technology, we decided to list some of the articles.
Aging In Place Technology Watch shares this in today’s newsletter: “… it’s good to see that Envoy (concierge service for independent living), Kindly Care (home care agency), Caremerge (home care platform), and Seniorlink (care coordination) are in their same businesses from 2016 – and others from the period like Envoy and CareLinx received additional investment and moved forward.
“Smart Home Technology Becomes a Must-Have in Senior Living” – Senior Housing News
“Home Instead Inc. — the international franchise company behind the Home Instead Senior Care network — is joining forces with senior-friendly tablet startup GrandPad in an attempt to reduce client loneliness and improve connectivity.” – Home Health Care News
“Where the Home Health Aide Shortage Will Hit Hardest by 2025” – Home Health Care News