By Steve Levy
Most Seniors do not Need Senior Housing But Could Benefit from other Choice to Remain in Palo AltoUploaded: Apr 22, 2014
Palo Alto has a large number of residents aged 65 and above?17% of the city's population compared to 11% for the state and region. In addition most of the baby boom generation will join the "senior" age group over the next 5 to 15 years. The 65 and above population is poised to surge in the state and region and it is likely that this trend will affect Palo Alto depending on the housing choices of "seniors" and the city.
I put "seniors" in quotation marks because most residents over the age of 65 are still very active either at work or in community and family affairs. The share of people over 55, over 65 and over 75 who are working has been increasing steadily and is projected to continue growing as health and longevity continues to improve.
While some of the city's over 65 population will now or in the future want to live in "senior housing" or places that provide an array of services in addition to places to live, most seniors will not want senior housing at least for many years to come.
Some seniors will stay in their existing residences. Some might move to be close to family members. But some and, I think, an increasing number, will want to remain in Palo Alto but live independently, just not in the larger single family home where they once lived.
I think there is unmet demand for living in still spacious but smaller units near downtown or California Avenue where walking to shopping or dining and other activities is easily available. That is our experience and the experience and choice of many families who live in our condo development downtown. We also have families with children who appreciate being in a more walkable, transit accessible area.
I am not talking here about subsidized housing or the need for more facilities like Channing House as our senior population ages.
I am hoping readers will discuss what the city should do to allow more of our growing over 65 population to remain in Palo Alto if and when they want to move out of their single family homes. I hope we allow them that choice.