The Growing Need for Senior Housing

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When Naperville’s Senior Task Force interviewed the city’s seniors, they said their two biggest concerns were transportation and housing. While Ride Assist Naperville is stepping up to help with transportation, how will the city tackle the housing problem?

In 2019, Naperville’s population is projected to reach 150,000. Of that, 27 percent of residents will be seniors aged 55 and older; over 40,000 people, many with special housing needs.

“The things that were nothing for them when they were younger or that their children helped out with, like cutting grass, gardening, shoveling snow, all those sorts of things start to be tasks that really can’t be done very safely,” said Judith Brodhead, Councilwoman with the City of Naperville.

For seniors looking to downsize, there are a variety of places to live, from Martin Avenue Apartments for low-income independent living, to Monarch Landing for those who need assistance, there simply isn’t enough. Martin Avenue’s waiting list is over two years long, and there are few homes left in town both suitable and affordable for seniors.

“You know, you can buy a house, live in it for forty years or so and it’s essentially paid off. If you sell it, you get $300,000 for it, where are you going to go in Naperville?” said Senior Task Force Co-Chair Karen Courney. “The condos that are selling are close to $400,000.”

But new developments could be on the horizon – like the Martin Avenue Apartments project – a 68-unit addition to the 40-year-old complex, which has Planning and Zoning’s seal of approval. There’s also Avenida – a proposed senior living facility for the southwest corner of Mill Street and Commons Road.

“A large apartment style building with many units in it. I think if it is properly planned and designed and attractive, that it can be a great thing for this town,” said Brodhead.

Another option is group housing, like the homes provided by Senior Home Sharing, where four to six seniors live together in one house.

“You have a lot of big houses in Naperville. You have one person living in these big houses. I think they’re just ripe for home sharing,” said Courney.

Expanding senior living options means those who have lived here for decades won’t get priced out as they age.

The city’s website has a page complete with information about programs and assistance available to seniors.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.