Random phone call this week: “Hi, Babs, I’m from Kiplinger Magazine in Washington and I’m doing a story on senior citizens.” “Cheesh, I’m not that old,” I said to myself. Long story short, the reporter was investigating where the best cities were to retire to and she wanted to know about Salt Lake City. Here’s what I know and what I told her:
1)If you’re on a fixed and or low income, there’s a huge waiting list to get into any housing. The high-rise senior apartment buildings built decades ago (200 West and 200 East for example) aren’t in great shape and one building last year went the entire summer without air conditioning. My friend Sally said she was told in her search that the wait could be six months to two years and was told that there was a five year waiting list for Section 8 housing (subsidizing private landlords to rent to seniors). You can turn to Utah Housing Authority and several non-profits to find housing but they say, “Prepare to wait.” One national company (Danville Development) has 62+ housing in six Utah cities and runs Calvary Tower by Trolley Square for low income seniors. The first new building, Legacy Village of Sugar House has broken ground next to Wilmington Flats and will offer three kinds of care for independent and assisted living, plus a memory care facility.
2)For seniors who can afford to buy, there are condos priced from $100k-$1 million+ dotted in and around downtown, the Avenues and University areas. Seniors can’t be turned down for loans because of their age or type of income and qualify like anyone else for a home loan. There are no ‘senior only over 55+ only’ condo buildings downtown to purchase, though and I haven’t seen anyone building any either.
3)The active seniors I work with who want to buy condos want to live downtown near a TRAX station, booze, food, shopping, theater and museums unless they want the burbs of Day Break.
If you’re reading this column you’re probably not a doddering old coot like me but your parents or grandparents may be and will need to move in the near future. God forbid your elders might have to move in with you because they can’t find housing!
I can tell you that as we age we think about how we want to spend our senior years and who we want to spend them with. Wouldn’t it be great if a bunch of Burners got together and built an elderly compound where fire pits battles between dub step and music without words was totally chill? One friend of mine cared for an elderly transwoman. They let her wear her wig in her hospital bed even though she presented as a man. Sadly she complained about not having any other LGBTQ people to talk to about the old days of disco, poppers and bare backing in the facility.
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