The Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) has approved of over $180 million in funds to renovate and establish over 540 homes in Western Washington. This will make several senior housing communities more energy efficient and more affordable.

In Snohomish County alone, 88 apartments (home to over 100 seniors) will be renovated. Many of these apartments were old buildings in need of repair. For instance, both Woodlake Manor and Lake Village East are home to many disabled seniors. The funding from WSHFC will make these homes more safe & energy efficient while preserving their affordability.

In Tacoma, lower-income housing will be made available in a new garden-style apartment community.

In Port Townsend, Bremerton, and Olympia, three senior living properties will be preserved, keeping these homes stable and suitable for over 30 years.

Gig Harbor will feature several big changes. A new continuing care retirement community (CCRC) by Heron’s Key will develop over 190 independent living homes, with 45 skilled nursing beds, and over 30 assisted living units. This will benefit senior couples in the area who need different levels of care, but don’t wish to separate.

The Housing Market for Seniors

While all of America acknowledges the Quiet Crisis – the sheer volume of retired baby boomers who will need senior care – Washington State is one of the few taking action. The cost of renovating these homes and apartments is not cheap, which begs the question how can they maintain the affordability of these homes? But we have the data and spending $188 million on quality & affordable housing will cost America (and the world) less money than it would to not provide these services.

The World Alzheimer Report was released this year (2015), and the current worldwide cost for elders suffering dementia is $818 billion; in five years’ time, the cost of dementia care has increased by 35%. This makes the projection for the cost of dementia over $1 trillion by 2018. Action needs to be taken, and it’s the efforts of communities like the Washington State Housing Finance Commission that makes it possible to avoid such exorbitant amounts in the future.

In addition, the report shows that over half the people suffering dementia live in middle- and low-income housing. The number of elders suffering dementia is anticipated to increase by over 200% in middle- and low-income countries. Hilary Evans, the Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research in the United Kingdom, has addressed this global economic cost to encourage more funding towards Alzheimer’s and dementia research. While research continues, the funding for Alzheimers is grievously low when compared to other worldwide diseases.

By continuing to create and renovate quality and affordable senior housing, the nation can keep our seniors healthy and happy while avoiding a crippling economic expense.