There's no place to retire like home.Instead of migrating to traditional retirement areas, many aging Americans are choosing to remain nearer to where they worked. The immobility of certain health care plans, rising health care costs and decreasing retirement budgets are keeping retirees closer to home. And as the baby boom generation grows older, this phenomenon is expected to increase, and it is already changing the way retirement housing is marketed and built. "Given their druthers, older people want to stay put and age in place," says Tom Otwell, spokesman with the AARP, a service organization for the elderly. He cites a recent AARP study in which 83% of those over age 45 said they would like to stay in their current residence for as long as possible. Only 4.2% of households headed by those older than age 65 moved between 1998 and 1999, according to the most recent statistics available from the Administration on Aging. In comparison, 16.5% of those households headed by people younger than age 65 changed location during the same period. As a result, many states are seeing rapid increases in their elderly populations. "We'll see, in the next five to 10 years, a pretty steep increase in nontraditional retirement communities like Michigan or Illinois," says Ken Preede, research director with the American Seniors Housing Association. In some areas, the increase has already begun, he says. In 14 states, the number of people over the age of 65 increased by more than 20% between 1990 and 2000, according to the U.S. Census. That list included Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
|Older Population Not Just Goin' South |
West recording surge in residents over age 65
|Source: U.S. Census.|
Busting StereotypesIt's time to retire those stereotypes about retirees. Experts say the days of shuffleboard in isolated retirement communities are waning as baby boomers enter retirement. Two-thirds of Americans who are above age 65 and not living in nursing homes reside with either a spouse or another family member, according to data from the National Council on Aging. If they're not living with their families, they're living nearby. An AARP study of grandparents showed that three-quarters of all grandparents lived within an hour of their grandchildren. Some retirees even expect their families to move in. One-quarter of boomers say they expect their children or grandchildren to live with them at some point during retirement, according to a poll from homebuilder Del Webb. Some of these retirees find themselves replacing their old jobs with a new one: taking care of their grandchildren. AARP statistics show 11% of retirees are either primary or secondary caregivers. "That's a pretty dramatic statistic," says Denise Snodgrass, assistant director for the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement. "I don't think you'll see that group of people moving."
|More Retirees Staying Put |