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QUINCY – Judy Derbyshire loves her home. “I’ll stay in it as long as I can,” she said, as she left an exercise class at the Hingham Elder Services center.
But the retired real estate agent said she does think about where she might move if she can’t stay at home – and where she could afford to move if she has to downsize.
“People do talk about it,” she said of her friends and neighbors. Others at the class said they talk about it too.
Affordable housing for residents 60 and over is on the minds of town officials these days as well – and not just in Hingham.
From Quincy down to Plymouth, the over-60 population now equals or exceeds the under-18 population in eight communities, and selectmen, councilors and mayors are looking for ways to provide more “gray housing.”
In Hingham, that age parity was the main reason the April town meeting approved a proposal to build an assisted-living apartment development holding 60 to 80 units on the “Selectmen’s Parcel,” a 10-acre tract off Beal Street that the town has owned since the 1970s.
In Norwell, where there are hundreds more youngsters and teenagers, plans are nonetheless underway to convert the former police station into market-rate and affordably-priced senior housing.
“It’s definitely a discussion topic,” Town Administrator Peter Morin said.
It’s also a topic in Braintree, where Mayor Joseph Sullivan says he and the Council on Aging hear from “seniors who would like to stay in Braintree, but don’t want the big yard anymore.”
“There is a need,” Sullivan said.
Along with Hingham, Braintree and Kingston have equal numbers in the over-60 and under-18 age groups. Quincy, Weymouth, Rockland and Plymouth have more in the over-60 group, while Cohasset, Milton, Hanover, Marshfield and Scituate all have larger under-18 populations.
Those findings are from a University of Massachusetts-Boston study, which was conducted in conjunction with the state and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The impact of the South Shore’s rising over-60 population varies considerably from place to place.
In Quincy, Mayor Thomas Koch’s spokesman, Christopher Walker, said the city’s current building boom is producing plenty of market-rate housing. In Hull, Town Manager Philip Lemnios said there’s no such shortage, even though the UMass-Boston study shows Hull has the highest ratio of over-60 residents to under-18 residents on the South Shore – 2,971 over 60 to 1,710 who are 18 and under.
Hull has no large, privately-owned retirement communities like Linden Ponds in Hingham. The town housing authority operates 68 public units.
Read Full Article: The talk of some towns: Will there be enough housing for over-60 residents?

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