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Exploring housing options after retirement

Joan Hatem-Roy, Chief Executive Officer

Q: After retirement, I thought I could remain in my apartment for a long time. Unfortunately, I now must rely on savings to cover my monthly expenses. I now need housing I can afford on my Social Security income and remaining savings. I am independent and would like to be around other people my age. What options do I have?

A: While most individuals look forward to retirement, they aren’t always prepared for the adjustment they may be forced to make in their lifestyle. Unless someone has a pension, investments or lucrative assets, learning to live on Social Security and minimal savings is a challenge. Real estate agents as well as online and print publications are logical choices to seek out housing, including rentals, but there are additional resources available to provide you a new living environment.

Housing Authorities manage low-rent public housing units for seniors and individuals with disabilities with limited income. Financial eligibility guidelines must be met, and rent is based on income. While you may not need supportive services at this time, they are available at some of these sites if this becomes an issue. There are also private housing developments which offer affordable units to lower income individuals.

Looking to the future, congregate housing is an option when it may no longer be feasible for you to remain living alone but do not necessarily require 24-hour care. Supportive services are provided with this type of housing and may include meals, housekeeping, transportation, and social activities.

Many of these options available in most of the cities and towns in this area. Our Information and Referral Department can provide you with an extensive list of all the housing buildings and contact information. In many instances, there may be a wait list so it will be important for you to pursue any options you want to consider as soon as possible. If you feel you require additional assistance, a case manager may be able to point you in the right direction.

Are you struggling to care for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.esmv.org for more information. You can call us at 1-800-892-0890 or email ageinfo@esmv.org. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and North Shore.