Aging Successfully: A fresh New Year? Not always

  • Wednesday, January 22, 2020 1:30am
  • Opinion

A new year is the perfect time for fresh new beginnings. It provides the opportunity to reassess our life’s journey and to make any desired modifications in order to improve our future journey through life. This would be my favorite time of the year if not for the cold and gray.

Unfortunately, the opportunity for a fresh start is not possible for many of our beloved senior citizens. Instead of looking forward to a great new year, many seniors dread it. In addition to this being the winter season, with higher heating costs, these seniors are concerned about higher housing and medical costs.

It is sad to know they must seek employment simply to make ends meet. Throughout this year I will write about some of these concerns. When I can, I will offer positive solutions.

If you are unaware of the Cost-of-Living Index, it is a standardized measurement for all costs of living in all places. The index standard is 100 and the lower the number on the index, the better the cost of living is.

According to the online World Population Review (Aug. 27, 2019) Washington state is the 14th most expensive state.

Washington State’s overall cost of living is 110.7. The housing is 117.8 with utilities being 88.7 and groceries 107.8. Unfortunately, Sequim’s economy has changed and our housing costs are now higher than the state’s average. According to Bob Sperling’s Best Places, a reputable website, Sequim’s overall cost of living is 110.9. Housing is at 157.7 with utilities at 66.9 and groceries 101.5.

The overall cost of living for healthcare in Washington state is 83.8 and in Sequim it is 95.7.

This month I want to write briefly about housing concerns in Sequim. Several years ago I researched housing prices in Sequim for a special project. Here is what I found. One studio apartment was $750, another was $800. Low-income housing started at $775 for a one-bedroom apartment, plus utilities. Senior housing started at $1,200 a month.

While senior housing did provide food and utilities, it could be expensive for a senior with high medical bills, and other debt. In addition, there are the issues of eating by other people’s schedules and of food allergies.

Assisted living is more expensive and can cost up to $1,000 per day, or more.

Out of curiosity I did a search on Craig’s List this week to get an idea of what is currently available in affordable housing. There were only five listings for Sequim, and two of those had waiting lists from eight to 24 months.

There were two tiny houses available. One was a furnished cabin with utilities included for $1,000 a month. The other did not specify if it was furnished, and whether utilities were included. That rent was $1,950 per month.

The last option was for a senior housing facility which advertised a two-bedroom, 710-square-foot apartment for $904 a month. The ad did not say what was included in the rent.

For many seniors, especially widows, who are not ready for assisted living these prices are stressful, if not outright scary.

In my next column (February 2020), I will share some unusual, innovative and affordable housing options for all of us to consider.

Here is some trivia for you: Oregon is the fifth most expensive state to live in. The overall cost of living is 134.2 with a housing index of 181.8.

Feel free to email me with your housing story at information@crystallinn.com.

Crystal Linn, a Sequim resident, is a multi-published author and an award winning poet. When not writing, or teaching workshops, Crystal enjoys reading a good mystery, hiking, and sailing with friends and family.

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