The baby boomer generation comprises an estimated 74.1 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964. Your community association is either already experiencing some of the challenges surrounding aging residents or soon could be.

Cindy Simpson, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, a manager with Associa Mid-Atlantic, has seen this demographic shift firsthand. Simpson is a manager of 55-and-older communities in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Often, the residents have lived in the communities for many years and are now over 75 years old.

Perhaps the most affordable and proactive step communities can take to help residents age in place is to conduct annual surveys to request age, emergency contact information, and any special health concerns. It can be a useful planning tool in determining what services or physical modifications are appropriate to offer.

Some communities form welfare committees or buddy systems with volunteers to check in on neighbors to ensure they are safe, living in sanitary conditions, and healthy. These committees can provide valuable feedback to the board and management team and offer advice when there is cause for concern.

Caroline Clinton with Associated Asset Management has been the community manager of Sundance Adult Village Homeowners Association in Buckeye, Ariz., for almost eight years. Many residents are between 70–80 years old. Sundance residents learn about services available to help them, how to care for their loved ones, as well as how to care for themselves. Clinton lets older residents guide her when it comes to developing policies, creating activities, and providing services for them.

Leslie Alvarez, CMCA, AMS, LSM, PCAM, is community manager for Saint Andrews Country Club Property Owners Association in Boca Raton, Fla. The community of 749 single-family homes with residents ranging in age from 55 to 100 has contracted with its security company to provide on-site first responders. It has been a valuable and lifesaving amenity for the association and its residents.

Dwayne Taylor is the general manager of 2101 Cooperative, a high-rise in Philadelphia. Taylor took a unique approach to address the needs of the aging population within his community, contracting with Jewish Family & Children Services, a nonprofit organization that provides social services regardless of religious affiliation. A social worker visits the cooperative once a week for four hours. Residents can get assistance applying for entitlement benefits and for services. JFCS can help residents with writing wills, living wills, and powers of attorney. JFCS also can assist with facilitating modifications in the home at low or no cost to the owner and provide a lot of education to the management team.

These examples demonstrate that with a little compassion, ingenuity, and knowledge, communities can help older adults age in place—comfortably and securely for as long as possible.

Contributed by Denise Adamic, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, and Matthew C. Collins, Esq. Denise Adamic is the community association liaison at Horn Williamson in Philadelphia where Matthew Collins is the community association group chair.

>>Read more about how communities can help residents age in place in “The Golden Years” from the November/December issue of CAI’s Common Ground magazine. 

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