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Old 05-14-2009, 12:43 AM
 
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brightdoglover,

I get all this junk send to me because I am on all the list. Their newspaper comes periodically so I have looked at this Erichson Community. They built one in the southern suburbs of Denver. They just abandoned their plans for another one, north of the city because of the economy. I am not impressed. Too much money for too many so-called luxuries. Putting your money into this type of arrangement can be troublesome. Also, the one here is just so sterile and boring. I want a nice neighborhood with a some old buildings, old people, young people, families, children, and a little dirt, here and there, to remind me of reality. Just the other day, I went walking in my neighborhood and some scruffy dog decided to check me out---he sniffed by bum, I sniffed his, and we walked together for awhile in the park, and parted friends when some children came to claim him. I would rather age in place than some temple to gilded aging.

Livecontent
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,973,893 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livecontent View Post
I got suddenly ill in my 40s and had to go on Social Security Disability. I have lived only on Social Security now for many years. I was also frugal and live simply. Within a few years on disability, I paid off my mortgage and my car. I never accumulated other debts.

However, it is not all rosy. Being sick means you have multiple medical expenses and prescriptions. That is my big expense, every month. I do not qualify for any assistance because of the asset caps. All programs have different caps but some are $2000; some are $4000, some are $6000 etc. for a single person. Being frugal has given some money, over these caps but not much--so I am penalized for saving some money--it does not bother me---I just accept.

However I am still very positive. If I get into trouble there are many social programs that will give me some extra help. If I use most of my savings then I will qualify for the extra help in paying Part D, medicare; help with prescriptions; and perhaps being to go on Medicaid which along with Medicare will pay many of my medical expenses. Also with Medicaid, long term care is paid. The issue is to know about these programs. Having a home, I can get my taxes reduced by half. I can also have the taxes be held until the house is sold. I am a Veteran and can get some other programs for care.

The advice I would give is; if you have nothing but Social Security to live on, be satisfied with less and find joy in a simple life. That is a difficult issue for many people because they have high expectations and want more and more. You do not need all that much to be happy.

In fact, now I may be happier than many other times in my life. Of course, being ill and having constant pain is not fun, but I just accept. In the past, I had to work, to compete with others, also on the go, never enough time. Now, all time is mine, with no competition and little stress. I do not worry about expenses in the future. I just let it all flow by and I
livecontent

LiveContent, Today I just started another thread (Retiring on a literal shoestring: support group), before I found this one. i was feeling like I was not connecting on other threads with folks in my boat....age 60, lost job, waiting for early retirement while I freelance. My income is nothing like it was. Fortunately I have my house paid for, but property taxes are a killer ($3000/yr, which for some folks in other areas of the country is cheap I know). Anyway, it sounds like you know what you're doing and have found true happiness.

My question for now is, if you get to 65 and cannot afford to make Medicare payments based on income alone (but you have savings and own a home), can you qualify for Medicaid? I thought that one had to be destitute, with no assets at all, to get Medicaid.

Also, in your opinion, where's the cheapest place in terms of property taxes....that one would find a modestly attractive place to live?

Thanks~~
NewEnglGirl
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:38 PM
 
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Regarding Erickson, I liked it more for the provisions of frailer later age (although would always like an indoor pool and restaurant meals), and the health care component (which I will investigate much further).
I fear aging in place unless I have means to hire help for different things? And have good public transportation, etc. I don't know of a place that is like that- I will never live somewhere more humid than Boston area (and I know I'm alone in that!). I've thought of the U.S. West in many ways, always have, but the public transport part is hard to arrange. For instance, if I was to become old in or near Denver, I'd just as soon be in an Erickson community than a neighborhood where I'd have to duplicate a lot of services ad hoc.
I've also wanted to seriously consider earlier retirement in the West, that is, selling my dream house in Massachusetts and making a last move where I can become old (near some services/transport). I accept that few places, and no small places, are the medical mecca of Boston, but the expense here, the humid summers, and public transport issues are big. I have no desire to live in a major city but don't want to be any more car dependent than I am.
I'm not drawn to the two Erickson places in eastern Mass., due to the towns. If I'm gonna go to the extreme of a whole retirement community, I want to do it elsewhere.
Shall see. I wish the American West was a 3-hour drive from my current home. I just can't get into New England. Maybe it's because I've been here mostly since age 20. It's not an adventure.
Of course getting old isn't an adventure I look forward to, not the really older stuff.
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:44 PM
 
13,319 posts, read 25,558,234 times
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P.S. regarding Erickson- on my vacation in Utah and Colorado this July, I'm spending a night at the Erickson place in Highlands Ranch, which I know is a white-bread area (near a light rail stop). I have to spend the night somewhere near the Denver airport to end my trip, so decided to spend a night at the Wind Crest place and get more info on Erickson.
Maybe it's all the years I lived in and around Cambridge (Mass.) but I have had quite enough of the frisson of people! And have worked in the psych field for many years. I think I can live without the city neighborhood thing, although have much liked the cultural diversity of my co-workers (from many countries) and certainly like the variety of people/food/faces more in town. But I do live 25 miles from town, surrounded by trees and dogs, a short walk to a lake and public trails, and like that pretty well as a place to live. My life is pretty short on people personally, so not sure how I'll handle that later or elsewhere, plus, I might have more of a desire for people in my life when I don't make my living with them.
It's nice to have the possibilities of options. I fully recognize that circumstances could dictate a big change and I have back-up ideas for less money, health, etc. One step ahead, I've always thought a mobile home would be just fine- bigger than an apartment, a separate house that is affordable. There are some fine ones out there. There's a nice little 55+ mobile community in my town, although still car-dependent.
I always have mental backup plans- never want to be caught flat-footed, by good news or bad. I think it comes from a lifetime of no one having my back, so to speak.
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:55 PM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,050,963 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
P.S. regarding Erickson- on my vacation in Utah and Colorado this July, I'm spending a night at the Erickson place in Highlands Ranch, which I know is a white-bread area (near a light rail stop). I have to spend the night somewhere near the Denver airport to end my trip, so decided to spend a night at the Wind Crest place and get more info on Erickson.
Maybe it's all the years I lived in and around Cambridge (Mass.) but I have had quite enough of the frisson of people! And have worked in the psych field for many years. I think I can live without the city neighborhood thing, although have much liked the cultural diversity of my co-workers (from many countries) and certainly like the variety of people/food/faces more in town. But I do live 25 miles from town, surrounded by trees and dogs, a short walk to a lake and public trails, and like that pretty well as a place to live. My life is pretty short on people personally, so not sure how I'll handle that later or elsewhere, plus, I might have more of a desire for people in my life when I don't make my living with them.
It's nice to have the possibilities of options. I fully recognize that circumstances could dictate a big change and I have back-up ideas for less money, health, etc. One step ahead, I've always thought a mobile home would be just fine- bigger than an apartment, a separate house that is affordable. There are some fine ones out there. There's a nice little 55+ mobile community in my town, although still car-dependent.
I always have mental backup plans- never want to be caught flat-footed, by good news or bad. I think it comes from a lifetime of no one having my back, so to speak.
You aren't alone in not wanting humidity! In case you don't realize - DIA is not near Highlands Ranch - probably more than an hour away. Highlands Ranch is south of Denver almost half way to Castle Rock.

I assume that when I'm retired, I will have to make an effort to have socialization or I will putter along happily with my hobbies and projects and just might turn around and notice I'm too isolated.

I so agree with your last paragraph! Wise words.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:27 PM
 
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Thanks for the warning about Denver's airport. I intend to fly out later afternoon, so will have the morning tour and then drive to the airport.
Only a couple of humid days so far in eastern Mass. Every day from now on that isn't humid is a plus for me. I dread summer more and more each year, and it also makes my joints hurt, find it hard to breathe. I feel like a prisoner on the whole planet, despite air-conditioning (cold humid air).
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:03 AM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,546,321 times
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Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
LiveContent, Today I just started another thread (Retiring on a literal shoestring: support group), before I found this one. i was feeling like I was not connecting on other threads with folks in my boat....age 60, lost job, waiting for early retirement while I freelance. My income is nothing like it was. Fortunately I have my house paid for, but property taxes are a killer ($3000/yr, which for some folks in other areas of the country is cheap I know). Anyway, it sounds like you know what you're doing and have found true happiness.

My question for now is, if you get to 65 and cannot afford to make Medicare payments based on income alone (but you have savings and own a home), can you qualify for Medicaid? I thought that one had to be destitute, with no assets at all, to get Medicaid.

Also, in your opinion, where's the cheapest place in terms of property taxes....that one would find a modestly attractive place to live?

Thanks~~
NewEnglGirl

You can qualify for Medicare and own a home because it is exempt from the asset determinations. However, the assets have to be extremely low, something like $4000 for single. However, some medical expenses can be deducted. There is also an income cap. If you qualify for SSI (Supplemental Security Income), you are automatically enrolled in Medicaid which would be in addition to Medicare.

Also if you can get assistance for Medicare Part B payments and Prescriptions Drugs, based on other criteria and still not get Medicaid.

It is hard to say what the cheapest place to live for property taxes. There are so many variables. In addition, many counties give a partial exemption to over 65 but like my county, you would have to been residing in the home for the previous 10 years. I have been in my house for 23 years but I am not yet 65. My property tax is about $1500 a year.

I have been disabled for about 15 years and so far, I have been able to live on Social Security and even save money. However, it requires thrift that many people cannot tolerate.

I do not think owning a home is necessarily the best option for seniors. If you are of lower income than you may qualify for assisted housing which caps your rent. That may be less than maintaining a home, even if it is mortgage free. You can easily get a modest 600 square foot apartment in Senior housing that with or without assistance may be cheaper.

I would sell my house now, if I see other options but the housing market has collapsed; now is not the time. In addition in about 5 years there will be a commuter rail station with 1/3 mile of my house. That may significantly increase the value, so I am waiting. Actually I do not have it bad because I am within walkable distance to stores and a good bus service. When the rail station comes, and I get my senior exemption on property tax--I may stay.

Livecontent
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:44 AM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,546,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
P.S. regarding Erickson- on my vacation in Utah and Colorado this July, I'm spending a night at the Erickson place in Highlands Ranch, which I know is a white-bread area (near a light rail stop)...
Erickson in Highland Ranch is not near the light rail station. Who told you that nonsense. It is about 3-4 miles away. You can never walk it because it is along busy highways. The station is at Mineral and that is the end of the line. Around the Mineral Station, near the Platte is nice waterways and natural reserves, one of my favorite areas to go by rail. There are no feeder buses from Erickson to the station. There are no local buses nearby.

The area can best be described as far, far, suburban sprawl, south of 470, in the newer reaches of Highland Ranch, on the far southwest corner of the metro area, near Chatfield Dam. It is not close to the call n' ride or any buses which run in the eastern, older area of Highland Ranch. There is nowhere to walk, no stores other than some developments and some open space land. Note that open space land here is mostly treeless prairies. Yes, Highland has many developed trails with more trees between developments, but natural, it is not. You would need a car to go anywhere and everyplace would be far--so be prepared to drive.

Keep in mind that Highland Ranch is a development, not a town, not a municipality...it is a very large unincorporated development in Douglas County, that contracts with nearby towns and the county for services.

This is as different than your current place that you now live. This is plain living, and I mean the Great Plains which I love. You will be shocked when you see where it is....near a light rail station....bull... I am a big public transit user and I have biked when I was younger around this area. Highland is nice for some people and has some good amenities, but this area is very far out from Denver and can be considered a good example of sprawl--maybe good, maybe bad??? Google the address and look closely.

Livecontent

Last edited by livecontent; 05-21-2009 at 12:54 AM..
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:08 PM
 
13,319 posts, read 25,558,234 times
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I thought the Erickson communities include shuttle transport for those who need or want it.
I haven't gotten to visit the two places in Massachusetts. Again, if I'm going to the huge step of living in a retirement place, I'd just as soon do it out West, and the only Erickson area that interests me is the Denver area.
I gather local people are very much against Wind Crest? Did it shove aside a popular open area? Was the development shoved through via kickbacks? Does it abuse the water system?
I grew up in ongoing sprawl into farmland in south Jersey. Disliked it as each farm or hint of life prior to 1957 disappeared. The area is now super suburb, strip malls, good schools, etc. etc. Very desirable place for many people (some 100,000) and I couldn't stand it, although had no idea how other places might be.
The U.S. population went from 200 mil to 300 mil (and counting) in a relatively short time. People have to live somewhere. Where I am, living in the city or anywhere remotely easy to get to by public is extraordinarily expensive. I live in a former farm town with limited development due to septic issues and a high water table. Also, the town has been somewhat proactive in protecting open spaces, and is currently into "buy local" and farmstands and so on. There is no sprawl, but then, it's only about 7,000 people.
Some 30% of the town is over 65. A lot of people are local, and grown kids drive them, etc. I am not in that position, and figure if I'm going to end up paying people for services, it might be better to live in a place where I can do that, rather than patch it togethr ad hoc (if possible) or hope that dwindling public money will fund a Council on Aging, and so on.
I just want a place that I like to look at where I can read and grow older with as much grace as possible.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:56 PM
 
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Brightdoglover,

I am sorry I sound abrasive about WindCrest. After reading all their mailings, I decided to take a look see when I was down in the area. I have relatives in Lone Tree, which is to the east. It was nicely built, nice grounds but as I have said in numerous post, I do not like living in these type of remote developments. It reminded me of one of my colleges I attended, beautiful campus but remote, difficult to get to town. I lived on Army Posts that where easier to escape. I did meet many people who enjoyed living there. I got the impression that they were wealthy and always lived in expensive gated developments, so it was no different for them.

I did read on the Colorado thread that comment about the locals not liking this development. That surprised me; I never heard any bad comments about where it is located. It was not put in some favorite recreation area. It was put on an land of an extensive large cattle ranch, Highland Ranch. The land was all grass prairie, suited for grazing. I used to work east on County Line Road and I saw it before it was developed and in all the years of development--it was not really special. It was just open prairie. I have been down there many times as I have relatives near there. So, I cannot see how that comment is true.

Windcrest fits very nicely into the surrounding housing and development and looks good near some office parks. Yes, it has some good views and it is very near to Chatfield Dam and the Platte Greenway. As I said, the Mineral Station is at the end of the line but is adjacent to open space, natural preserves, a nature center and the trails along the Platte. It is good stop for someone in the city to put their bike on a train and get farther down on the Platte. Many years ago, I did bike all the way from downtown to Chatfield along this trail. The rail station is pretty isolated and not near any other businesses. I should mention that the plans for the Fastracks project of rail expansion includes a small extension of this line to Highland Ranch. It will be one of the last projects built.
Southwest Corridor

The older areas of Highland Ranch to the east have the community center, some buses and is in a call n' ride area, has a Park n' Ride and is centered on South Broadway. It also has stores nearby on County Line going east to Lonetree and a Large shopping mall, Park Meadows. This is actually on the Southeast Commuter Rail corridor.

Yes, it could be a good place to live for some but not for me. I like the old walkable neighborhoods with public transit.

Livecontent

Last edited by livecontent; 05-21-2009 at 07:11 PM..
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