Wednesday, 13 May 2020

DESIGNING AN AFFORDABLE, HAPPY & SECURE FUTURE

I'm always on the lookout for innovative housing models for older adults and recently, I came across one I really like. Jake Rothstein is a Florida-based entrepreneur on a mission for social change. I was especially interested in his ideas for older adult co-housing because a) I love the Golden Girls and b) I'm saturated with news of Covid19 and I wanted to think instead about something creative, positive and hopeful. I decided to ask Jake about his Florida-based housing model, UpsideHōM. Here's how he explained his new idea.



1)    Jake, tell us about UpsideHōM. What is the backstory and how did you develop the idea for this innovative style of housing?

UpsideHōM is the only fully managed, shared living option for active and independent older adults. We like to call it “co-living for grown ups,” since traditionally this concept of co-living has been aimed primarily at Millennials. Co-living is simply when 2 or more people share common areas of a home but we add an additional layer of concierge-accessed services that older adults may need on top of housing. We utilize modern apartments in vibrant, safe, amenity-rich apartment communities and provide a turn-key and frictionless living experience for those who desire simplified living, later in life.

The idea came about after years of immersing myself in the industry and learning deeply about its many challenges. A few years ago, I helped found a company in a similar space called Papa. We needed help caring for my own grandfather, who had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and came up with a way to utilize college students, studying to be healthcare professionals, to help with companionship and assistance for seniors. I quickly realized the breadth of loneliness and all of its negative impacts on health among the senior population and set out to build a more complete solution. I wanted to create an environment that I would feel good about my own parents living in.

2)    What is the profile of a typical resident who would choose your model?

We believe that there’s a wide range of people who would benefit from living in an UpsideHōM. We talk to people who are recently single at 65 and are still working but just don’t want (or can’t afford) to live alone. We also have people contact us who are 80, and maybe recently widowed, who still live in the home they raised their kids in and just want to downsize and simplify their lives. We’re really for the truly independent 55+ individual, who may need a little extra help here and there and wants all the incredible amenities of living in a 55+ community but without the associated stigma. We’ve found that people don’t want to feel “old,” being surrounded by only people their own age. All of our HōMs are in communities where both young and older people live side by side.

3)    How do you match residents?

When a new future resident reaches out to us, we walk them through a detailed questionnaire and run their responses thorough our proprietary matching technology. Then we check our availability in their desired geography and facilitate a meetup between the two or three people who match. We like to host a lunch for this interaction. We believe that sharing a meal with others is a great way to start getting to know them.

4)    What is the range of properties? Price, amenities, etc. 

We have a wide range of properties available, with more coming online everyday. Our goal is to accommodate people at all ends of the financial spectrum, since we believe simplified living, later in life, is something that spans economic boundaries. Our bedrooms start at about $1500 per month and pricing varies based on location and level of luxury of the specific community.



5)    What kinds of services and benefits come with your model? 

All UpsideHōMs are technology-enabled and include all maintenance, housekeeping, basic cable/internet, common area furnishings, companionship visits, single-bill simplicity and a dedicated HōM manager. HōM managers offer residents a single point of contact and handle everything from coordination of basic repairs to rides for personal errands. Additionally, they arrange and organize dozens of other senior-focused activities and services and strive to keep residents active.



6)    Your first phase is designed for older adults who are still independent, but are you planning to expand to meet the needs of adults with disabilities, eg? 

For now, we’re hyper-focused on independent older adults but we’re always thinking about ways to expand our offering in order to meet the many needs and requests of our current and future residents.

7)     Where are your properties available currently? 

At the moment, we have availability in all South Florida counties (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach) and plan to begin expanding first regionally, then nationally by the end of the year.


Donna's note: This is not a commercial post, I just like sharing innovative solutions to senior living when I see them, and I like this one!