The Five A’s of Sustainable Aging

Stepping Out On The Back Nine

Baby boomers are in full retirement swing and being one myself it’s time to seriously consider the physical location where I will “age out” in my home otherwise known as Aging in Place. We know boomers are living longer so environment is just as important as the financial planning done to sustain a comfortable retirement. So what is most important to qualify for a sustainable community?senior golfing

Homes that provide for all price ranges, accessibilities and physical styles are the mainstay of a community. So it stands to reason that accommodating those needs will determine the success in attracting and maintaining a viable community. Walkability and transportation are the wheels that move the community and that’s where the Five A’s determine if the community will sustain the aging population successfully. And those are…

  • Availability
  • Accessibility
  • Acceptability
  • Affordability
  • Adaptability

Availability of services determines how well you meet the needs of the community. How much diversity in options along with how much transportation is available. Is there only one healthcare facility or many? Are there a variety of support services as well as senior centers? The number of options available will dictate how diverse the culture is.

Accessibility offers location to transportation. Most multifamily housing communities are located close or along transit routes. Is the only transportation available along the main streets in the town or are there Paratransit options available? In the Sacramento county area most seniors have the option of door to door transportation (for a fee) that accommodates wheelchairs and works within the typical workweek schedule however in the unincorporated areas the growth is slower and can impede available options for seniors.

Acceptability outlines the various options that provide for a healthy culture.  Some people will not use public mass transit lines so living in a large urban area wouldn’t work for them. Others require large amounts of social stimulation so small towns wouldn’t provide the peer events needed to meet that need. Analyze the immediate area you are considering when making a decision to age out in a particular neighborhood, thoughtful consideration pays huge dividends and is worth the time investment.

Affordability allows for activity that maintains well being without compromising health or safety at the very least but it doesn’t stop there. The condition of your home is something that tends to demand attention and deferred maintenance can be costly. Keeping your home in good repair has always been a do it yourself kind of project but as we age we tend to ignore the reality that we can’t do it ourselves. Will we start to depend upon our children or can we afford other service providers to maintain our home? These questions should be thought through since we need to factor in those expenses. A move could also reduce the need for those services which might be a better solution.

Adaptability is the final key to aging in place. The ability to maintain mobility and function within your home will enable you to live safely and without added assistance. Let’s face it, as we age we lose out ability to perform certain physical tasks. Depending upon your family history you might end up suffering with a variety of ills that will prohibit you from doing the daily routines that we take for granted. If your home is able to be adapted to suit emerging needs then get the necessary work done early. Don’t end up suffering an accident because you waited too long. Complacency is not your friend here…it’s downright dangerous and can be a gamechanger. If you don’t address the need early you might be forced to move because you can no longer live in the home without major modifications.

These are just a few of the considerations baby boomers and their parents needs to examine as the “silver tsunami” hits the shores of America. If you have any questions or would like more information about real estate in the Sacramento area go to

Beth Moran is a Broker Associate with REMAX Gold in the Sacramento Valley in northern California. She has been selling real estate since 1999. She is a current member of the Sacramento Association of Realtors Professional Standards Committee and is a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) and trained by Pepperdine University in Mediation and Dispute Resolution.