Monday, September 9, 2013

Mystery Novels and Senior Housing Options

Since I write geezer-lit mysteries, I’m very interested in topics that affect seniors. Because of this, I volunteered to join the Boulder County Aging Advisory Council, a group that makes recommendations, reviews and allocates funding for programs that support older citizens. Given the explosive growth taking place in the older population, we need more housing options that include co-housing, shared housing, low cost rentals, independent living (retirement homes), assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The original concept of a three-legged financial stool of savings, pensions and social security to help older people get by has evaporated. Low income individuals have not been able to save, needing to use their funds for subsistence, few companies are offering pensions any more, and social security can’t cover all requirements. Consequently, there is a need for low cost housing alternative for the bow wave of seniors.

In my mystery novels I indirectly discuss some of the housing alternatives. Two of my novels, Retirement Homes Are Murder and The Back Wing, take place in retirement communities (independent living). My protagonist, Paul Jacobson, also lives with his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter for a time in Living with Your Kids Is Murder. In Senior Moments Are Murder, he lives in an apartment above a garage. In my recent, Care Homes Are Murder, Paul visits friends who live in a care home (assisted living facility). Being released next year, in Nursing Homes Are Murder, Paul is in a nursing home. Not to worry. Paul doesn’t become decrepit and require around the clock nursing care; he helps the police solve a crime by going in undercover.

Mike Befeler

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