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What HOAs Should Really Know About Aging Residents

Posted by IKO Community Management on August 3, 2017 at 9:00 AM

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Every HOA community faces challenges with aging-in-place residents. The “Baby Boomer” generation is, on average, 65 years old and would rather stay in their home than move to a senior care center or in with another family member.
For HOA boards and their respective community managers, this creates a new set of circumstances to carefully navigate. IKO Community Management breaks down what you need to know about adapting to aging residents in your neighborhood:

Legal challenges may increase. Most issues relate to the requirement for more accommodations like elevators, ramps, and handicapped parking. Each addition would have to be discussed with the architectural review committee and your community’s lawyer.

Those would fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act and whether the HOA's responses constitute reasonable accommodations,” according to Kristen Rosenbeck, a partner at Mulcahy Law Firm, P.C. in Phoenix, Arizona.

“[HOA] boards will need to review requests and take concerns very seriously. Violations could create stiff penalties and...nasty litigation."

Privacy will be in question. What happens when you haven’t heard from a 70-year-old homeowner in a few days? Or if your resident hears someone fall next door?

These circumstances will test the consideration of privacy for the benefit and well-being of aging residents. What an individual homeowner can do is different than what an HOA board or community manager can do. The best advice is to consult your community’s lawyer on various privacy laws.

The HOA board is aging in place. Many HOA board members are those who have a lot of time to commit to the community like retirees or stay-at-home parents. Unfortunately, the former group can pose a problem for your homeowners association.

As humans age, our cognitive and physical functioning slows down and inhibits our ability to perform everyday tasks optimally. Early-stage dementia and Alzheimer’s become risk factors when your board consists of aging residents, and their ability to attend HOA meetings and community events decreases.

Your community needs additional services. We discussed the best amenities for younger residents, including a gym, dog-sitting services, and a community pool. However, if your neighborhood has aging-in-place homeowners, your HOA board needs to consider offering other amenities.

It’s wise to look into ride-sharing or public transportation schedules, home landscaping services, and on-call nurses. You can also set up a subcommittee comprised of volunteers who are willing to attend medical and therapeutic appointments, go grocery shopping, and visit aging residents regularly.

This makes the transition much easier, especially for those homeowners that don’t have family that lives close by.

It’s a touchy subject. “Aging in place...[is] defined as remaining living in the community, with some level of independence rather than residential care,” according to Accommodation Options For Older People In Aotearoa/New Zealand from the New Zealand Institute For Research On Ageing/Business & Economic Research, Ltd.

Trying to retain independence and accept age is a difficult concept for almost everyone to grasp when the time comes. To make this transition easier for your homeowners, it’s important to talk to and reach them on a basic human level. Ask them what you can do to make them more comfortable or what service they’d like help with.

By having an open and honest communication policy, you’ll have a happier HOA community of aging-in-place residents with less burden on them and your neighborhood.

If you’d like more information about how to handle this change in your HOA community, download IKO Community Management’s latest guide, An HOA’s Complete Guide To Helping Aging-In-Place Residents, by clicking on the button below:

Download the HOA's Complete Guide to Helping Aging-in-Place Residents

Topics: HOA Board