One of the biggest questions facing the nation with regard to aging boomers is: Where are they going to live? The options amount to a tangle of euphemisms and politically correct titles: independent living, nursing homes, aging-in-place, naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs), retirement village, memory-care units, age-restricted communities. All this complexity disguises a simple fact about money, happiness, and aging: Seniors who can live on their own cost the country relatively little they even contribute to the economy. But those who move into nursing homes start to run up a significant tab starting at $52,000 a year. People who are isolated and lonely end up in nursing homes sooner. Hence, finding ways to keep people living on their own, socially engaged, healthy, happy, and out of care isn’t just a personal or family goal it’s a national priority. Among seniors’ living options, there is one we overlook: mobile homes. Time-tested, inhabited by no fewer than three million seniors already, but notoriously underloved, manufactured homes can provide organic communities and a lifestyle that is healthy, affordable, and green, and not incidentally, fun. But in order to really see their charms, we need to change a mix of bad policies and prejudice.
Ms Margonelli lives in Oakland, where this might actually make sense. But in Oklahoma City, a manufactured home creates nightmares from March through September: the very thought of Gary England calling on his bevy of storm trackers puts occupants into a severe case of night sweats even if it’s daytime.
Of course, my little stick house can just as easily blow away if Mr Fujita assigns a 4 or 5, as he did fourteen years ago. But it’s never actually caused me any fright, except maybe that one time when the ground began to shake like a bowl of Jell-O which California folks presumably might be used to.