Housing for Solo Seniors

Ok, I have to admit it!  I am a “senior” – a term that I do not like really, but the fact is that is what people over 60 years of age are called in Australia.  I like the term “elder” which I think is more tasteful and is a term used by many communities to indicate that the person is “older and wiser” and in many cases a leader in their community.  OK, I have got that off my chest.

Something that I have tried to research is the ideal house plans for seniors.  There are plenty on-line, but all that I have found seem to be for wealthy couples.  Efforts to find something on the Internet have not been successful, that is for solo housing.

Why am I interested?  I am solo these days, and I live in a rented three-bedroom duplex and I am looking to downsize, but finding it very difficult.  I am not in a position to buy, and the rental options in over 50’s establishments are not for me.  I am too active and need space for my things.  Even my bicycle would not fit into some of the seniors housing I have seen and I would not leave it outdoors!!

I have friends in government seniors housing so have seen it close up for many years.  Admittedly the two houses I know well are old and both in great need of upgrading, and the government IS doing a lot, but as there is an 8 year waiting list for these homes, it is not an option for me.  I am hoping that perhaps one of my offspring will have a house with room for a “granny flat” but not sure if that will happen.

My best option is to win or earn some big money.  Mmmmm.  Unlikely.

However, I have had discussions with a friend who is keen to build a housing complex for seniors and disadvantaged people.  So things might look bright for me at some stage.

I would like to do some research with others to see just what is on the list of things that seniors want.  I know stairs and steps are an issue – something that bothers me as I have challenges with stairs sometimes.

I have visited a couple of local housing establishments and I find some strange things. s Many do not have “kitchens” but a small nook where one can have a toaster and kettle.  All meals are provided.  That is not something that at this stage of my life I am willing to accept.  I like cooking, and I am not one that enjoys institutional meals.  Been there, done that.  I was a nurse – and lived in the nurses home.  All meals provided at the hospital.  Yuk!!!

Laundry.  I have discovered that many of these establishments have a community laundry – where one has to “queue” to share the washing machine.  Mmmm.  And, that you must have your bed sheets laundered by the establishment (for a fee) and even if you do not have them washed by the establishment you must pay the fee.  The issue for me is that I use bamboo sheets, and special care must be taken when laundering these.

My friends in government housing have a small bathroom, in which the washing machine lives.  It makes for a very squeezy room and really not at all like a “nice” bathroom.  Again, not for me.   Both of my friends also have a mild disability (one has had a stroke and has limited use of one leg and arm) and yet there is a walk from the laundry/bathroom, down stairs and a walk to the clothesline.  Is that clever?   No way!

In most seniors housing (except for the very expensive) there is no car garage – so the disadvantaged/poor must leave their car out in the weather.  On top of that, security is an issue, as if one goes out of an evening and returns home at night, there is often limited or no lighting.  One of my friends has been attacked and robbed on two occasions getting out of her car when arriving home.  So, on top of the car deteriorating in the weather, she is personally at risk from idiot crims.

In many of these places there is no solar hot water system – so the disadvantaged pay more for their water heating (gas or electricity), and there’s no solar power, so they pay top dollar for electricity!

Does all this make sense?

In my duplex, which I love really.  It is the most modern place I have ever lived with a garage with remote control for the door so I don’t have to get wet when I arrive or leave home in the rain, though the garage is no narrow my passengers have to exit the car before I drive it into the garage.

The laundry is in the garage and I have a hike from the garage through the house and down the side of the house to the clothes line – further than my friend has to walk, but stupid really.  I have a lovely walk in robe, and an ensuite bathroom.

There’s no steps apart from a small one at the back and front door.  My biggest issue in this place is that the bathroom floor and shower recess is difficult to clean for someone with mobility issues.  (I find it hard to bend and clean all the floor as there is a narrow space between the shower and the handbasin/cupboard).  And the property is on a steep slope – rules of the local government that states homes should be 2 metres above “flood level” whatever that is, as there are no floods in this particular area.

 I am compiling  list of things I would like to see in my perfect seniors establishment

  • A garage with room for a car and a bike, and not too narrow, to enable passengers to alight from the car under cover.
  • No steps.
  • Consideration be given to ease of cleaning when/if someone has mild disability.
  • A laundry that is close to a clothesline
  • Level garden/outside area.
  • Simple kitchen with small stove and oven, and small on counter dishwasher. ( I don’t need a big family sized one.)
  • Simple easy electrical switches.
  • Suitable area for garden or community garden space

I will continue my research.





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About Di Hill

My business card says "Writer, Traveller, Camera Addict, Bamboo Fan, Workshop Presenter." This website will focus on my writing - and the workshops I present. Workshops on Blogging, Marketing for Writers, and Life Story Writing.
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