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Old 03-17-2009, 01:20 AM
5,090 posts, read 13,546,321 times
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I think the issues of HUD, low income and disabled housing for the elderly is confusing. I am disabled on social security disability. I am also a Veteran. Because I am getting sicker and I do not know how long I will be able to live alone in my house, I have been researching these programs. In addition, I have parents who are in their 80s and I know eventually I will need to know more about these issues.

Yes, there are many programs available but putting it all together and trying to understand is a real challenge for the elderly. All these programs are administered by separate agencies. There are places to seek help but from my experience in dealing with my problems, I have seen that not one person or one agencies knows all the available resources that can apply.

For an elderly person and/or disabled trying to get information, understand information can be very trying. Yes, there are religious, social agencies and government people who have some knowledge but not all for all cases, and many times they cannot give you information about available resources they do not know or care to know. I have found that many programs that I can qualify for assistance are little known, not advertised, not understood by the agencies responsible, and many times I am given the wrong information. It really requires me to be my own advocate.

The internet has been much help and has great deal of information. However, some of the information comes from sources that have their own agenda and are not necessarily there for my benefits. You have to be real careful in choosing housing and many programs that are run with government funds. I know from experience that the government is very lax, lazy, and/or stupid in overseeing their own programs. You can easily see that because the government cannot manage the new programs to stabilize the economy. You can bet social programs for the poor, elderly and disabled are even more poorly administered.

Unfortunately, you have to know that a program exist for you to seek help and ask questions. I am trying very hard,while I still have my capabilities to understand and get help. I am not in despair because I have some advantages that others do not have---I have a big "New Yawk mouth" and I still have my intelligence---well, for now. Soon, I will forget where I put my brains because I am forgetting where I put everything else.

It has bothered me that I got sick many years ago, and have not been able to accumulate much wealth but now that has given me an advantage to qualify for some programs--not all, that is because to fully qualify, you would have to have very small amount of liquid assets, like less than $6000 for some programs, $3000 for others, etc.

For now, I have no debt and live in a house with no mortgage. I am actually able to live, up to now on Social Security Disability without having to touch my savings. The lower interest rates on savings have really hurt me. However, my frugality has saved me and I am even able to continue to save a small amount every month. That severe frugality is something that many people cannot do. I have not been to a movie in about 8 years; I do not rent videos; I do not buy videos. I have not eaten in a restaurant in about 2 years. I do all my own cooking and do live on many less costly stables as beans, rice and more vegetables--less meat. I drive a 15 year old car. I do not travel. I have not been in a bar in many years. I have never had cable television. My only vice is this high speed internet.

I am not whining; I am not complaining. I am content but constant pain is my companion, that makes me acutely aware of everyday---yea, it is kinda stimulating.


Last edited by livecontent; 03-17-2009 at 01:31 AM..

Old 03-17-2009, 05:37 AM
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,391,767 times
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Livecontent - I hope you have family/friends in your area that are able to help you. You sound tough but it's got to be a bit unnerving at times - good luck!!!!
Old 03-17-2009, 06:53 AM
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,973,893 times
Reputation: 15649
Default Getting the info/support we need

LiveContent, thanks for your post. I think the biggest challenge by far for many of us in the next 10 or more years is the social networking and support that we need at this stage in our lives. I don't know about others, but my kids, though wonderful, are probably not going to be there for me the way many of us have "been there" for our aging parents. Maybe a generation thing, or the way the culture is...at any rate, it's hard indeed to believe we are this age! I know that many benefits come with age, but on the other hand, so do many challenges that are more so because of the state of the economy, which could go on for years (hopefully not, but you never know...)...so making choices today is much much harder than it was for our parents, who made their decisions based on a more or less stable set of circumstances...I read somewhere that the middle/upper class bulk of our parents' generation (post-war adults) in general enjoyed a level of prosperity and comfort in old age literally unheard of previously. This, despite the fact our own generation of women have worked so d.... hard at doing it all...full time jobs, raising families, helping others, etc. Not so with my mother and all the mothers of my friends! That's the thoughts for now...
Old 03-17-2009, 06:14 PM
Location: home...finally, home .
8,236 posts, read 18,512,788 times
Reputation: 17765
That is so true , neg. I am not sure , but I believe that our generation will be the first one that is less wealthy than the previous one was. I would imagine that this is especially true for women, especially single women. Many of us gave up financial security to have children & I am not sure if that was wise or prudent . Who could ever have predicted what happened on the cusp of our retirement, though ?

People may not recall what you said to them, but they will always remember how you made them feel .
Old 03-17-2009, 07:39 PM
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA
84 posts, read 191,420 times
Reputation: 52
Arrow My ideas for 55+ women nearing retirement

Haven't followed all the posts ... just jumping in here. I've been researching cohousing, intentional communities, and small houses for several years in anticipation of finding somewhere I can retire. I'm 55, single, no kids, living on a fixed income, don't own a house.

Cohousing communities vary in flavor. In general, they are too expensive for me, plus there's a tendency to try and make everything look the same to save construction expenses, etc. I'm sold on the small house movement -- anything less than 1,200 square feet. Belong to a group specializing in this -- green, very energy efficient, comfortable, quite a variety of ways to go, and AFFORDABLE.

Low cost to me is well under $100,000, even $50,000. Very nice small homes. Cost less money so I'll have more to spend on other things. Also small means less to clean!

So you get an idea of what I mean (not a shack), check out this page, only one of many, many sites where people can get plans for small homes.

Here's a group that sponsors a mailing list where I've learned TONS of great information.

I'd like to live in some sort of community of people where we are like neighbors, look out for each other, help each other out -- much like cohousing. If I had my druthers, I'd like it to be all women (or couples) who are 50+, no kids, but grandkids and others can visit. Need my own place, but would be nice to come together regularly for some meals, gardening, projects.

I'm in Northern California where real estate is expensive and planning and zoning rules are restrictive. I'd like to live in a rural area, perhaps a small town close to a large university. I've always lived in California, but am willing to try living in a different climate as long as there is water close by -- ocean, lake, river. Probably wouldn't go for places like Vermont due to heavy snowfall, but wouldn't mind a place that has more rain. Usually, the weather here is great, but the 100+ summers just kill me.

I haven't considered getting any government subsidizing for this sort of thing because it takes so long and has too many restrictions. I believe that, as a society, we will be moving away from inefficient McMansions toward smaller homes out of necessity. It also makes homes more affordable to more people so they don't have to go into foreclosure.

Many times people purchase an acreage that backs up to an area where a wildlife and/or greenbelt exists. People have bought land that already had several structures, then rehabbed what was there to suit a number of residents. Right now my friends are talking about purchasing a mobile home or RV park to avoid problems with zoning and planning. There are lots of ideas that will suit lots of different people.

Many other criteria, but this is good for a start.

Old 03-17-2009, 08:24 PM
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Excellent Post and I very much agree. I think that a small house is the way to go. I live in a very small ranch, full basement, two car garage. I bought it new because I just wanted a place that was easy to maintain with my busy lifestyle. Time, went on and I got richer and "desire for more" set in, and I was going to buy a bigger house--but fate touched me and I got ill, lost my career and income and had to go on Social Security Disability. Now, 14 years later, I still have this small house, fully paid. In addition, I have trouble walking, so one floor is ideal. Luck seems to be on my side because, stores have opened in walkable distance and now a commuter rail station is planned 1/3 mile from my house.

A small ranch, one floor is good for Colorado, easy to heat and easy to cool, especially with a full basement. I do need air conditioning. After over 20 years in this house, I have a shady treed lot. You do see newer homes built here with two stories because land got more expensive and two stories would fit on a smaller lot. In addition, people wanted the more grandiose look of a two story. However, in the older established neighborhoods, you see many small homes, which more are all brick, not like today. These older neighborhoods also tend not to have the owners association fees that you see in newer developments.

Many people, who can get by in a small house because of no children, or empty nestors, or single are being attracted to these small older homes. I see no reason also, to have an extensive large yard to maintain when the Denver area is covered with public parks, trails, lakes, reservoirs that are already paid and maintained in taxes. That also goes for condominium arrangements where you paying for pools and tennis courts. There are so many public facilities in the area, that are available.

These small homes exist already in established urban and surburban neighborhoods that are walkable with shopping nearby and have good transportation. They are more of a sure bet then the new expensive urban villages that are built but have big ownership fees. Of course, there is the problem, that many homes have to be remodeled and updated but some have more structural integrity (brick), style, and neighborhood amenities than newer construction. I do like some of the infilled developments in an older neighborhoods so you can get some of the advantages of both worlds, if you can get a smaller home. My housing development was built as an infilled in the middle of an established area.

Colorado is a leader in the Co-housing industry. I have not been impressed. All that I have see are overpriced for the quality of construction. I have visited many and eaten at their common table in the community building. Some of the behavior of the residents bother me. One example, the amount of dogs that roamed the building during meals--if you like dogs begging for food--fine but I do not enjoy that environment. There are too many self-centered liberals that have their ideas of independence, but do not think that they need to curb their lifestyle for the common good--only for the good that they define. Bull, I have lived in College Dormitories, Army Barrack, had apartment roommates--this living arrangements have too many problems because of the many people it attracts.


Last edited by livecontent; 03-17-2009 at 08:32 PM..
Old 03-17-2009, 08:47 PM
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,745 posts, read 4,216,823 times
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The Center for Economic Policy and Research released a report entitled "The Wealth of the Baby Boom Cohorts After the Collapse of the Housing Bubble" in February 2009.


Basically, it states that those households with at least one resident boomer in the 55-64 year old age range are screwed and will need to rely on social security retirement checks to survive. (And this is without taking into consideration single vs. married households.)

Prior to the current economic crisis, it was predicted that there would be a significant increase in poverty among single female retirees. Why? Divorce. Our parents' generation did not have nearly as many divorces. In fact, a few years ago I read the greatest growth in divorces was among those who had been married at least twenty years. As a legal consultant for a local "displaced homemakers" program, I noted that the divorced participants who had been married for greater than ten years would be better off financially with a dead ex-husband than a living ex.

Of course, the other major difference between our parents' generation and our generation is the availability, or lack thereof, of pension benefits. <sigh>

Old 03-17-2009, 09:37 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,563 posts, read 39,944,045 times
Reputation: 23699
Originally Posted by livecontent View Post
...I live in a very small ranch, full basement, two car garage. ... stores have opened in walkable distance and now a commuter rail station is planned 1/3 mile from my house.
If you can arrange a separate entrance for the basement and it has full facilities (Or they can be added), you might have a good set-up for a future caregiver.

Colorado is a leader in the Co-housing industry. I have not been impressed. A..the behavior of the residents bother me. One example, the amount of dogs that roamed the building during meals--...
yeah begging dogs and begging kids These are some potential problems with co-housing. I need to try to live in one in Denmark for awhile and see how they work so well there. Maybe they don't have an 'entitlement' generation (Or maybe they are all entitled, since it is #1 in 'happiness' index, followed by Singapore) I loved living in Singapore, but AC was a must, as well as getting used to 'close proximity' living. Tho the parks are empty, cause most everyone (except me) is shopping.

Having grown up in Loveland / Masonville, I wish I could return to CO, but it will not be possible. I might be looking back into the Malaysia thread. Health care is the killer in USA.

Since you are a veteran, you have some choices if you become destitute. (as you mentioned)
My dad's assets were $700 when I got him into this Vet's home w/ supreme view overlooking Puget Sound and Bremerton,WA. very pretty.
Veterans Home (Individual apartments, bus every hour to town or ferry (Bremerton > Seattle)
If you get to the point of needing care, your might consider these sites in CO (tho I like the homes in WY and SD too)
Colorado State and Veterans Nursing Homes - Official Sponsor of HomeOfHeroes.com
The Vets home really was a great benefit for the waining years of my 32yrs of caregiving.
Old 03-17-2009, 09:39 PM
5,090 posts, read 13,546,321 times
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Originally Posted by lenora View Post
...As a legal consultant for a local "displaced homemakers" program, I noted that the divorced participants who had been married for greater than ten years would be better off financially with a dead ex-husband than a living ex....
Interesting Counselor---it goes for both ex-husbands and ex-wifes, and it is not only for the financial gain, but pains and turmoil of shared custody, alimony etc. etc. ---not that I advocating that definitive "means to an end". I do not have any of those concerns, but many have chosen that way for satisfaction and have suffered the legal penalties or not...

Old 03-17-2009, 09:44 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,563 posts, read 39,944,045 times
Reputation: 23699
Originally Posted by lenora View Post
[color=#000000][font=verdana]... As a legal consultant for a local "displaced homemakers" program, I noted that the divorced participants who had been married for greater than ten years would be better off financially with a dead ex-husband than a living ex. ...
Hey, 2010 is just around the corner!! it is a great yr to die, or maybe even greater for your ex to die...

Estate taxes, are ZERO in 2010, will go back to 38% - 50% in 2011

Ex might have to move to OR or WA to get legal 'right-to-die' assistance. (maybe you could recommend that )
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