Looking for Apartment for Seniors in Jersey City

lanky

My in-laws (approx. 72 and 82 y.o.) are finally ready to (reluctantly) move out of Manhattan (it's just too expensive).  Their first thought was to move to Jersey City - they saw the Newport and some other luxury high-rises but felt the "vibe" was too young - the only people they saw in and around the buildings all seemed like 20-somethings (why that matters, I don't know).

They don't need any sort of assisted facility (yet, knock on wood) but I guess they are looking for something more their speed / their level of maturity.  Any suggestions?  I don't know Jersey City at all.

By the way, can anyone tell me what the "vibe" of some of the SoOr apt bldgs are, like 3rd & Valley and Gateway?  Are they also filled with young 'uns / students or are they a mix of young and old?  We're trying to convince them to consider SoOr as well.  MiL is very social so it'd be nice if she could find some local galfriends to pal around with, dine, go to shows, films, etc...

TIA.


Smedley

I lived in Newport JC for a bit in the 90s -- it has developed a lot since then but my sense is that it (still) isn't good for seniors. I just don't think there are many older folk there. You don't have the restaurants/culture on your doorstep that the city offers, nor do you have the slower pace and more greenery that you'd associate with the suburbs. 



georgieboy

Lanky, if you can get them to SOMA, you should check out Maplewood Plaza Condos across from Columbia HS. There are quite a few rentals & I think a 2 BR is coming on the market soon. Rooms are spacious & rents are very reasonable. There's a diverse resident population - retirees & empty nesters, families & singles of all ages. Plus, there's a lovely saltwater pool which is the happening place for everyone in the summer. The location couldn't be more convenient with CVS & Stop & Shop as neighbors.

Mrs. GB


grayhill2

As a senior citizen myself, I think leaving Manhattan is a poor idea; uprooting themselves from the amenities and old friends/acquaintances could be devastating for people you describe as having reached the decision reluctantly. I understand the financial constraints, but once they leave they cannot go back because that would be even more expensive. Moving to the suburbs leaves them potentially at the mercy of younger relatives for companionship. Many of the older residents any suburb will be those with longtime roots in the community. Your in-laws will lack shared memories and points of reference, and there likely won't be that many other people who want to create a new set of memories as there might be in a designated 55+ community (which would have its own issue, admittedly). Out of Manhattan (or sections of the other boroughs), transportation becomes an issue, social life becomes an issue, walking out to get books at the library or a few items at the supermarket becomes an issue. Loss of easy access to mass transit is a huge factor in the suburbs, even a place as relatively plugged in to NJ Transit as Maplewood/South Orange. It is one thing to age in place, and another to move to a different setting as an older person, even a setting only 25 miles from home. I would urge you and your spouse to try to help your in-laws figure out a way to stay in Manhattan, whether by downsizing or perhaps finding some other way to trim the budget. 


joan_crystal

Are your in-laws looking at Jersey City because of the quick and easy PATH connection to Manhattan or for some other reason?  If the former, assuming they intend to retain contact with their Manhattan friends, connections, and activities, then Jersey City as a borough on the other side of the Hudson may make sense.  If they are looking to become a part of their new community, then the considerations become different.

To grayhill2's point, we are seeing a trend in Maplewood and South Orange where persons who have never lived in our community before are moving here now either for the senior housing or to be closer to children/grandchilden.  The age friendly initiative, SOMA Two Towns For All Ages, is working to incorporate seniors, long term residents and newcomers, into the community through senior friendly activities, senior clubs, and volunteer opportunities.  

If neither of your in-laws drives, transportation could become an issue in some communities.  What we have here in Maplewood and South Orange is far from perfect; but, there are options.  Check out the SOMA Two Towns For All Ages website for information on senior bus service provided by Maplewood and South Orange.  Check out our new transportation guide available at the Maplewood and South Orange libraries, Maplewood Senior Center, and municipal offices in Maplewood and South Orange.

Send me a PM if you want to know more about the senior scene in our community.


conandrob240

agree with grayhill. How much will they really be saving with a move out of NYC to somewhere like Jersey City? Factor in travel expenses to see friends, cost of moving, etc. I’d stay put until someone needs a change due to medical need. Let them enjoy their life, friends, etc while they still can. What would their social life look like in a new area? Too important.




lanky

Thanks all for the thoughtful responses.  I think the first step will be to hire a broker to find a cheaper, suitable apartment in Manhattan.  

The price differential with what they could get out here vs. what they have (excluding the added amenities and newness of out here) is about $1,000 per month - not insignificant given their budget.  *But* we can find something in Manhattan which suits their needs for ~$2,200/mo, that would be best for them.

I thought downtown South Orange would be ideal for them given that it seems fairly walkable (little need for a car) with decent restaurant and entertainment options.  Plus they'd be a lot closer to their only grandkids and us, should they need any assistance.


Perseverance

What about the condos in South Orange like The Top?  They'd have easy access to the train, elevator use and I believe it has valet parking.  My parents are in their 80s and I've  been trying to convince them to move into something like this since I know they'd actually really like it.  Unfortunately, they're very stubborn and refuse to sell their house unless it's on their own terms. 


lanky
Perseverance said:
What about the condos in South Orange like The Top?  They'd have easy access to the train, elevator use and I believe it has valet parking.  My parents are in their 80s and I've  been trying to convince them to move into something like this since I know they'd actually really like it.  Unfortunately, they're very stubborn and refuse to sell their house unless it's on their own terms. 

 I think downtown South Orange is ideal for reasons stated but as others have mentioned, uprooting them from their many-years-familiar surroundings will be / is a challenge.


conandrob240

what do THEY want? It’s clear you want them in SO near you but my sense it that is not at all what they want. Other than $1,000 savings, what’s the upside? And check that $1,000 and things like utilities, taxes on their retirement, insurance costs, transport to see friends, maybe even the need for a car. I’ll bet that $1,000 turns to $500 or $600 or so. If they truly can’t afford it, I guess they have no choice. But if they can make ends meet by staying and cutting some things, I’d try that first. 


joan_crystal

The hill poses a mobility problem for seniors I know who live at the Top.  South Orange near the train station makes more sense.  If you are looking to encourage your in-laws to move closer to you, Check out the two senior citizen buildings to see if they have any openings.  The social worker at the South Orange Library would be a good source for exploring the quality of life they would experience here.  South Orange Seniors, a very active organization for the senior set would be another good resource if keeping them in Manhattan appears problematic.  If cost is an issue, you need to check out the rents/purchase and maintenance costs of the buildings you are considering in South Orange.  Not sure what you will find there within the budget you cite.  


lanky
conandrob240 said:
what do THEY want? It’s clear you want them in SO near you but my sense it that is not at all what they want. Other than $1,000 savings, what’s the upside? And check that $1,000 and things like utilities, taxes on their retirement, insurance costs, transport to see friends, maybe even the need for a car. I’ll bet that $1,000 turns to $500 or $600 or so. If they truly can’t afford it, I guess they have no choice. But if they can make ends meet by staying and cutting some things, I’d try that first. 

 Oh I don't want them in SO, per se, but I gathered their last 24 months of expenses via their bank accounts and credit cards.  I categorized their spending and sat them down to create more "realistic" budget.  Even cutting their variable, discretionary spending roughly in half (which I think is unrealistic), based on rent of $2K and netting roughly $550 K from the sale of their NYC apt, that gives them about 10 years of runway.  Upping the rent $3.2 K and not accounting for annual increases, 10 years becomes 7.  The situation is somewhat bleak (but not imminently so) so I'm trying to turn over every rock and stone to find savings and nuggets of cash.  Also hoping that the average cost of living (groceries, dining out, movies, etc) will be lower outside of Manhattan.


joan_crystal

Please do your research before having the next conversation with your in-laws.Cost of living is not apt to be that much lower here than in Manhattan.  Before strongly encouraging them to move strictly for financial reasons, you need to take a closer look at what their cost of living would be wherever they chose to live.  Life style changes may be of greater help than moving. Eating in rather than dining out can cut their expenses substantially.  Borrowing movies from the public library rather than going out to the movies can be another cost saver.  Manhattan has a lot of options for free entertainment so does South Orange.  Depending on where they currently shop for groceries and what they buy regularly, they may be able to cut expenses by doing their food shopping elsewhere and/or restructuring their menus.  Realistically, $2,000 a month won't get them much of anything in the way of housing in Maplewood or South Orange.  Money gained from sale of their Manhattan apartment may disqualify them from affordable senior housing.  There are other parts of the country where the cost of living is lower; but, relocating there would mean moving away from friends and family.  


joan_crystal

State, county, and municipal taxes; health insurance costs; and costs associated with public and private transportation options are other factors that need to be examined when determining the potential cost savings, if any, in moving to a different State or municipality.


lanky

Certainly.  For instance, they currently average $46 / month sending their laundry out in Manhattan because there are no facilities in their building.  I looked at 3rd & Valley for instance and they have 1 bedrooms for about $2,200.  Unsure if they have laundry facilities on site.


apple44

If the goal is to save money and to maintain an urban lifestyle, is Philly an option? Many younger people have made the move for similar reasons. They wouldn't be as close to your family but it might be a reasonable distance. 

Or perhaps look within NYC outside Manhattan, such as the Bronx (where some neighborhoods are developing and improving).


conandrob240

I think you are way off base on this.


$46 a month in laundry is a steal and it’s probably picked up and dropped off all folded nicely.


Cost to use a laundry: likely around $5-10 each week to do 2 loads plus cost of detergent and softener. Probably cheaper to send it out like they are.


If they own, I’d absolutely leave it be. They aren’t going to live more cheaply elsewhere unless they have a heinous mortgage.


Is there something else going on here? Because from outside it seems you are being really intrusive and your plan doesn’t make much sense financially. 


joan_crystal
lanky said:
Certainly.  For instance, they currently average $46 / month sending their laundry out in Manhattan because there are no facilities in their building.  I looked at 3rd & Valley for instance and they have 1 bedrooms for about $2,200.  Unsure if they have laundry facilities on site.

Does that $2,200 include utilities?  If not, what would be the total cost per month when utilities are factored in?  Water, gas or oil, electric, trash/recycling if not covered in municipal taxes, and phone/TV/Internet can raise monthly living expenses considerably.


lanky
conandrob240 said:
I think you are way off base on this.


$46 a month in laundry is a steal and it’s probably picked up and dropped off all folded nicely.


Cost to use a laundry: likely around $5-10 each week to do 2 loads plus cost of detergent and softener. Probably cheaper to send it out like they are.


If they own, I’d absolutely leave it be. They aren’t going to live more cheaply elsewhere unless they have a heinous mortgage.


Is there something else going on here? Because from outside it seems you are being really intrusive and your plan doesn’t make much sense financially. 

 I'm not being intrusive, it was their decision to sell - they own the apartment outright and the maintenance is about $2200 per month.  They have depleted any savings they had, have virtually no income and hence how they arrived at the decision to sell.  Selling will give them a virtual nest egg to continue to draw from for living expenses.

My initial instinct was to keep the apartment, possibly get some equity out of it via a lender and rent it, but given the high maintenance vs the market rate of rentals in the building, the numbers didn't make that viable.  Trust me, I've run several scenarios on this and analyzed their living expenses (both historical and potential) a great deal.  Additionally, with no income, traditional lenders have already said no.  Still exploring non-traditional lenders like those that are equity participants for a share in the in the eventual sale upside.

Even though we are in thread drift, I am open to suggestions.  Current forecast based on cash on hand and historical spend is out of money before year end.


lanky
apple44 said:
If the goal is to save money and to maintain an urban lifestyle, is Philly an option? Many younger people have made the move for similar reasons. They wouldn't be as close to your family but it might be a reasonable distance. 
Or perhaps look within NYC outside Manhattan, such as the Bronx (where some neighborhoods are developing and improving).

 Goal is part urban environment (where they would not need a car) and part staying close to any friends / relatives they have.  So they are considering NY metro, Coconut Grove, and San Miguel de Allende.  


joan_crystal

Expansion of ride hail companies throughout the country has made it easier to survive without a car even outside of the major metropolitan areas.  That is itself should not be a factor in determining where to move.  Staying close to friends and relatives is another matter.  There are lots of advantages to remaining close to a support group.  That should be a factor in deciding where to live.  You write that they have virtually no income.  Would obtaining full-time or part-time employment for one or both of them be an option?  I know a number of seniors in Maplewood and South Orange who are continuing to work well into their 80s.


lanky

All valid points.  Neither has worked as long as I have known them (12 years-ish).  Certainly any supplemental income would help.  


conandrob240

oh, yikes- in laws you’ve only known 12 years? Even more so, I say stay out of this. cheese


Do they collect social security? If so, should that cover the $2,200 a month? 


There’s also likely a tax benefit- how much of the maintenance is tax deductible?


I still say keep it, take out a small mortgage on it. Or rent it out- they can likely get way more than $2200/mth for it.


berkeley

My parents (who live in another state) are also active and social and I have also considered downtown South Orange. Walk to food shopping, restaurants, library, even doctor! Lots of activities for seniors at Baird and library. Easy access to Manhattan via train obviously and to other local towns if they would like to explore. There is also an Uber-like service for "grandparents" that does not require a smartphone. And I'm sure they can send out their laundry here, though I have no idea the price. In my case, the personalities are flexible and open enough that being close to us could balance the negatives associated with change. 

Since it was your in-laws' decision to sell, I don't understand the judgement around that. And it may be a good time to sell with interest rates rising, tax law change etc.

Good luck!



lanky
berkeley said:
My parents (who live in another state) are also active and social and I have also considered downtown South Orange. Walk to food shopping, restaurants, library, even doctor! Lots of activities for seniors at Baird and library. Easy access to Manhattan via train obviously and to other local towns if they would like to explore. There is also an Uber-like service for "grandparents" that does not require a smartphone. And I'm sure they can send out their laundry here, though I have no idea the price. In my case, the personalities are flexible and open enough that being close to us could balance the negatives associated with change. 
Since it was your in-laws' decision to sell, I don't understand the judgement around that. And it may be a good time to sell with interest rates rising, tax law change etc.
Good luck!


 That's kinda what we thought but obviously up to them...


peteglider

very seriously look at a senior development like Seabrook (where my parents lived), or Cedar Crest etc.  they are old enough that further needs, like acute care and assisted care after illness, are going to happen. In the communities I mention (because I know them, there are others of course ), it’s like a small town with bank, stores, hair dresser, barber, multiple restaurants etc as well as medical care all on site 


There are shuttles (small buses) to go shopping, off campus drs,  etc etc.  -all is included in cost 


For my parents, it was lovely to have so many others -all in the same stage of life, to socialize with, eat with, become close friends. There are so many clubs, groups, constant trips to plays, shows, more 


And when either of them have serious illness or surgery, you won’t be searching for care facilities and most importantly they don’t need to be separated or find it hard to see each other. Dad may be in acute/assisted care after a hip replacement say, Mom can stay in the apartment, and they’re only steps apart.


Based on the bit of financial information you provided, I think this is affordable for them. And in the communities above, while there is an entrance fee, once they leave all but 10% is refunded.

(Edited to add - Seabrook in an hour south near Ocean Grove, Cedar Crest in Pompton Plains)


PetuniaBird

In JC, I would pick something walking distance from the Grove Street PATH station. It’s a convenient and highly walkable part of JC.


Perseverance
berkeley said:
My parents (who live in another state) are also active and social and I have also considered downtown South Orange. Walk to food shopping, restaurants, library, even doctor! Lots of activities for seniors at Baird and library. Easy access to Manhattan via train obviously and to other local towns if they would like to explore. There is also an Uber-like service for "grandparents" that does not require a smartphone. And I'm sure they can send out their laundry here, though I have no idea the price. In my case, the personalities are flexible and open enough that being close to us could balance the negatives associated with change. 
Since it was your in-laws' decision to sell, I don't understand the judgement around that. And it may be a good time to sell with interest rates rising, tax law change etc.
Good luck!


 Sort of off topic but for laundry, a lot of people seem to like Wash Club around here.  They'll pick up, wash, fold and deliver back to you.  




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