This blog examines the relationships between older adults, their needs, and HOAs. For the purpose of this blog, let us classify anyone 65 years or older as an ‘older adult.’ Of course, not everyone in that age group has challenges or needs special accommodation, but there are other age-related factors for HOA owners and boards to consider. Let’s explore this topic.
First, it is important to understand that Colorado’s population is ageing. The state is home many Baby Boomers who are entering into the 65+ category at a faster and faster rate. Colorado seems well-positioned to handle its ageing population, compared to other states, broadly speaking. For example, the fact that the state is generally considered to be either the healthiest state or among the top means that more older adults are able to comfortably “age in place.” This means they can remain in their homes for longer without needing to leave for any special accommodation. The abundant, warm sunshine (and the vitamin D it provides) are also supportive of a happy, healthy life. However, there are, certainly, those older adults that will need medical care or other support at or very close to their homes – and not everyone has a family member or friend to rely on.
So how do HOAs fit into the discussion? Is it really a concern for HOA boards and managers (and owners!) to worry about the needs of older adults when they have so much else going on? In short, the answer is probably yes. In Colorado, there are over 5,800 HOAs. Since every HOA consists of multiple private homes, this means that there are many thousands of people living in them. A lot of these people are ageing.
For large HOAs, such as the Highlands Ranch Community Association, for example, accommodating older adults might be easier, with recreation centers and a large staff, than for smaller HOAs without even a club house. Those smaller HOAs can consider these points:
- Are there architectural design guidelines that would prohibit or restrict the construction of ramps?
- For single-family-detached HOAs, do contracts include landscape maintenance and snow removal for all homes (or maybe just those who might need a helping hand)?
- For multi-story condo buildings (say 2-4), is there an elevator? If not, what accommodations is the HOA willing to provide for a longtime, but now mobility challenged, homeowner (especially one who may not be able to afford relocating)?
- Are the association’s governing documents silent on the issue of the needs of older adults? If not, what do they say?
- If many residents are ageing, what accommodations are present for emergency personnel?
Beyond what may be available at one’s current HOA, ageing folks might want to look at other communities that can better accommodate their changing needs and still permit them to enjoy the benefit of living in a common interest community. One idea is to look at HOAs located near transit. Often called TODs, transit oriented developments (e.g. planned communities built along light rail or a popular bus line) can offer immediate access to transportation and oftentimes other services applicable to the needs of older adults.
We hope this blog was thought provoking! If you have any other questions about the needs of older adults and what that means for your HOA, please feel free to reach out to us at 303.832.2971 or [email protected]