For seniors who want to "love where you live," Avenidas is offering its sixth annual housing conference on that theme on Saturday, March 23, at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto.
More than 200 are expected to attend. Participants may choose one of three tracks: for people who have decided to sell their homes and move; for homeowners who want to stay in their homes; and for those who want to explore all their options. Each track offers three workshops aimed at the targeted population.
Peggy Simon and Kaye Sharbrough will be co-leading a workshop for those who just want to know what's out there. Called "Basic Training for Savvy Explorers," their segment will cover the concepts of aging in place, independent living, continuing care retirement communities and assisted living.
Simon, an information and assistance specialist in social work services at Avenidas, Palo Alto's senior center and a co-sponsor of the event, describes her role as consulting with families to let them know what resources are out there. She visits and observes local places, but makes no recommendations.
Sharbrough, a former teacher and now senior housing referral specialist, operates Senior Seasons, which works with families to make decisions about senior housing. Through her agency, she constantly updates Avenidas' "Where to Live: A Housing Guide for Older Adults" so she knows the latest rates as well as reputations and care levels.
"Every time one of us goes in and has an interaction, we make notes," Sharbrough said. They then use that data to help families make decisions.
Sometimes a family needs more flexibility, she said, and she'll know the policies on everything from memory issues to smoking or whether or not they can keep their pets.
One of the tools she uses is a workbook that the family fills out, allowing for a "neutral discussion ... that really helps facilitate a conversation," she said.
The workbook has a checklist including the possible advantages of a senior community. Items on the list range from freedom from responsibilities and chores related to maintaining a home and garden and being closer to family members to avoiding the sense of isolation and loneliness that can lead to depression and illness.
Under location, the booklet lets people check that they'd like to be close to children/family, public transportation, church, doctors or parks and paths.
Sharbrough started her agency when her own mother was planning to move from Southern California to this area. She quickly discovered how challenging it was to get up-to-date information on senior housing.
Sharbrough sees this workshop as a quick survey course, an overview of senior housing, from size of facility (the "f" word in senior housing -- the preferred word is "community," she said) to pricing on buy-ins or rentals.
"We talk about traditional senior housing, the village concept, co-housing," Simon added.
"We can pool our resources as we age," she said, explaining that the original Beacon Hill Village, which served as a model for Avenidas Village, was a manageable, small geographic area where seniors could share laundry, cooking or rides to medical appointments.
Avenidas Village extends from Redwood City to Los Altos, she added.
"Avenidas is a great resource for housing and seniors," Simon said. "The conference is one tool we have to let the community know about housing options."
Another workshop in the "exploring options" track concerns "Financial Planning for CCRCs," where Esther Szabo, of KK Wealth Advisors will talk about affordable options.
A quick rule of thumb for determining affordability, Sharbrough said, is people should have 1.5 to 2 times the entry fee in assets as well as 1.5 to 2 times the monthly fee in income.
The one area of senior housing that is not covered in the conference is subsidized housing, Simon said, but periodic events are offered at Avenidas dealing with low-income housing.
The conference is co-sponsored by Nancy Goldcamp, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker, Palo Alto, and the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center.
What the conference covers
Walter Bortz, M.D., will offer the keynote address, "Dare to Be 100!," at 9 a.m., followed by three sessions in three themed tracks.
The housing conference schedule includes:
If you have decided to sell your home and move:
Session 1: Mastering the Four 'P's of Home Selling, Nancy Goldcamp, Realtor
Session 2: Create Beauty and Order in Your Home, Kit Davey, A Fresh Look
Session 3: Co-Housing & Intentional Communities, Diana Block, Greenwave of East Palo Alto; Raines Cohen, Co-housing regional organizer; Sanda Everett, San Mateo Ecovillage and Co-Housing
If you have decided to stay in your home:
Session 1: Financing Your Future, Carla Cumpston, CFP(r), Edward Jones
Session 2: Increasing Home Safety through Modifications and Technology, Susan Ayers Walker, Smart Silvers; Martin Simenc, Home Safety Services
Session 3: Forever Happy, Forever Home, Vickie Epstein, Avenidas Village; Iris Harrell and Genie Nowicki, Harrell Remodeling
If you are still exploring your options:
Session 1: Basic Training for Savvy Explorers, Kaye Sharbrough, Senior Seasons; Peggy Simon, Avenidas
Session 2: Assisted Living in the Bay Area, Priscila Arzate, Sunrise of Sunnyvale; Mary Lou Marshall, Palo Alto Commons; Alisa Mallari Tu, Gordon Manor
Session 3: Financial Planning for CCRCs, Esther Szabo, KK Wealth Advisors
What: Housing Conference
When: Saturday, March 23, 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Where: Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Info: 650-289-5435 or Avenidas