The conversation of moving residence is never an easy one to have with aging parents. As much as we dislike moving, they dislike it more. Their body aches more than before and resources seem more limited, making tasks as daunting as moving seem impossible. That doesn’t even take into account the emotional aspect of such a transition.
In the case of our 85-year-old dad, he was comfortable in his East Bay 4th story townhouse. The parking garage and a neighborhood park were a quick ride down the elevator, the grocery and his known medical providers were a 10 min. walk down the street and despite his age, he had enrolled in recreational classes at the nearby junior college and was busy with language classes and yoga!
The trouble was we had all moved a few towns away and the thought of him navigating the freeways and Bay Area traffic was becoming increasingly stressful. Once we started discussing the topic of moving, he was adamantly against it due to the factors above. However, after a few months of brainstorming and discussing options, he started to become more open to the idea. When he eventually decided he was on board, he procrastinated with packing as most of us do with any big deadline we’re dreading. When we asked about his progress, he would express his concern for missing mail or losing his landline in the transition. This was when we started to understand the depth of emotions involved for a move when you are older in age.
When the house hunt began, it quickly became obvious that a move closer to San Francisco would result in an older unit and not as safe of an area. Most units we considered were great for investment or as potential rentals, but as far as having your elderly parent live there, they were either dark and dated, had road noise or were in neighborhoods with higher crime. We started to explore the senior community of Rossmoor in Walnut Creek and were blown away by the amenities, security, open space and outdoor feel as well as the various types of units available.
Some of the deterring factors were the monthly dues, about 50%-70% higher than the standard HOA ranging from $400-$900/monthly. In terms of investment, I advise my clients against such high monthly dues considering that they aren’t tax deductible unless you are benefiting from the amenities. Purchasing a home in a senior living community is also proven to be a less desirable purchase since it narrows your resale market to a niche group and there is usually higher inventory in those communities accordingly. Lastly there was the conversation that we had to have to make sure this would benefit our dad’s everyday life and not make him feel stuck or surrounded by old people.
As we started looking at listings in Rossmoor we learned about the various types of ownerships available as well as the different kinds of units. Throughout this time we asked our dad to write down his top 10 priorities for a new house in any random format and then to go back through and take his time to assign them a ranking. As much as he tends to mention the need for a bright living room and good views, he came back with a list that made our decision much easier.
- Good community
- Covered parking or garage
- Whatever else you guys think is best
We eventually found a great unit in Rossmoor with a private garage and very nice views. Since living there just over a month, they have thrown a dinner party for their neighbors, checked out the pools, joined the Persian community, watched a movie in the theater and are looking into learning to play golf.
Our mind is at ease knowing that in between the visits from the grandkids, and us they have the option to meet others and engage in activities and be in a social setting. We were reminded that even though our dad loves large spaces and view lots, he loves being social more and that is something that has decreased in his life his we all grew up and got busy with our own families.
We look forward to the options for elderly care and the shuttle services available in the Rossmoor community and knowing that he is in a community that can adapt to his needs in the years ahead.
For now, they seem very happy and he’s even looking a little younger!