Dear PoP – Where Should Grandma Live?

Photo by PoPville flickr user ewilfong

“Dear PoP,

Grandma is planning a move to DC to be closer to us and the grandkids. She is a hip, young, 60 and works as a CNA in home health care/assisted living.

We are exploring different neighborhoods in DC for her to live in and need some advice. If your mom was moving here where would you suggest she live?

Her requirements – she does not want to be more than one only – only woman, only single person, only person her age, etc. She lived in Riggs Park 10 years ago and while she had great neighbors she was a few too many onlys at the time. To be just one or two of those things is fine but too many onlys make for a tough settling in. A place which is walkable for services, relatively near to metro or a good bus line, where parking is not too ridiculous. We live in Columbia Heights and don’t want her too far away.

We are checking out near Walter Reed, Waterfront, H Street, Brookland. Is this going to be too rough for her? A studio or basement apartment in the 1200 range would be ideal. Gotta stretch those retirement dollars!”

Super curious to hear what everyone thinks. I’m gonna vote for Mt. Pleasant! In fact Mt. Pleasant sound perfect.

60 Comment

  • I’m a big fan of Grandma’s in Dupont Circle. Try the State House Apartments!

  • I think the apartments right above the Columbia Heights metro (on Irving between 13th and 14) are for seniors. You have to be above a certain age (50? 60?) to live there, so she definitely we be around people that she has a lot in common with. And it’s a brand new bldg, so I’m sure it’s in great shape.

    • Agreed, I think Capitol Hill meets all the requirements except possibly for being close to Columbia Heights. I’d say she could live near the Navy Yard metro so it’s a short green line trip away, but I’m not sure if you could get a decent rental for $1200 or less there.

  • Takoma – DC side or Takoma Park MD

    • I am prejudiced in favor of MtP, but depending on just how “walkable” things need to be, Brookland and the DC side of Takoma Park are both great suggestions!

      You might use the walkscore(dot)com website to get a relative sense of different addresses…I’d guess she’d want something with a a score over 75.

  • mount pleasant.

  • Consider Park View –

    It is just few blocks from GA metro, has the new senior center around the corner, a few churches in the neighborhood, and Park View Elementary is right there and in great need of volunteers.

    Rents seem reasonable and there are several condo options right on Warder St. I have been here for going on three years and never once couldn’t park in front of my house.

    Good luck with your search.

  • Capitol Hill south of H St might work well. $1200 is low end for most of the area, but you can probably find somewhere for close to that if you look hard. As much as the Hill is full of young couples, there are quite a few older, empty nesters around too.

  • Leisure World?

  • I would suggest Silver Spring, MD or maybe Ft Totten or Brookland.

  • An apartment in Cleveland Park or Woodley Park, or in Alexandria near Old Town.

  • OP – I am looking to rent my small-but-immacuate condo one block from the Columbia Heights metro. Unit has HWF, small washer-dryer (good for 1 person), granite countertops, marble bath, etc. Cute, safe, well-kept, friendly building. We have many single people in the building of all ages, including a few empty-nesters and (female) seniors. Great location & close to you! Pls email me offline if you are interested — POP has my contact details!

  • OP – I am looking to rent my small-but-immacuate condo 1 block from the Columbia Heights metro. Unit has HWF, small washer-dryer (good for 1 person), granite countertops, marble bath, etc. Cute, safe, well-kept, friendly building. We have many single people of all ages, including a few seniors! Email me offline if you are interested — POP has my contact details!

  • OP – I am looking to rent my small-but-immacuate condo 1 block from the Columbia Heights metro. Unit has HWF,l washer-dryer, granite countertops, marble bath, etc. Cute, safe, well-kept, friendly building. We have many single people of all ages, including a few seniors! Email me offline if you are interested — POP has my contact details!

  • OP – I am looking to rent my small-but-immacuate condo 1 block from the Columbia Heights metro. Unit has HWF, washer-dryer, granite countertops, marble bath, etc. Cute, safe, well-kept, friendly building. We have many single people, including a few seniors! Email me offline if interested — POP has my details!

  • I wouldn’t recommend columbia heights—at least the area near the metro—to anyone. I know plenty of people who don’t feel comfortable there (no, they’re not white suburbanites). it has seemed pretty rowdy the last few times I’ve been there… though maybe that was just those racist, homophobic, religious nutjobs with their megaphone. It’s a complete nightmare on the weekends.

    • Least terrifying nightmare ever.

      • I dunno, spending an hour in line at target and then eating at ruby tuesday ranks right up there for me… but seriously, there was a lot of violence in that neighborhood last year. maybe it was over publicized but the energy of that neighborhood still sucks.

      • more of an annoying recurring dream

    • Really? Plenty of people? I’ve not once felt unsafe in CH, even walking home to my apt that is 4 blocks from the metro after midnight. As long as you aren’t going too far south of the metro, there’s no reason for someone to not feel safe.

  • Gotta love the extended capitol hill area (union station, h street, Hill East, etc)

  • You ever think of van ness? There are plenty of people over 60 in the condos and apartments that line connecticut ave. There’s a giant, cvs, restaurants (not too many), healthcare, and everything else in the area. There’s a bus line that goes directly to the adams-morgan/mount plesant area, and the metro is there too. It’s an easy walk to Chevy Chase, which has tons of things for older people to do, and Cleveland Park. My building is super safe and a mix of people of all races, nationalities, age groups, and professions. For $1200-1400 you can probably still get a decent 1 bedroom non basement apt.

  • Waterfront would be good–finding a studio in that price range won’t be super easy, but not impossible… especially if she has time to look. There’s a new Safeway and CVS, and it’s convenient to Columbia Heights by bus or metro. There are people of lots of different races and she certainly won’t be the only single/older/woman.

    • Yes, those tall buildings are filled with a bunch of old women. Some hip, some hippy, and some with just hip replacements.

    • Having lived there I would say the waterfront is definitely not the place for a little old lady to be living alone. Even with bars on all the doors and windows, and an alarm system, my apartment still got broken into there.

  • Another vote for Van Ness.

  • Shaw or Bloomingdale … NJ Ave usually rents plenty of nice basement apartments, which are pretty much walkable distance to anything and everything (incl two metro stops).

  • There are those retirement condos off Mass. I think PoP did a GDoN about them. They have a 55 and older policy. There’s also a pool. If she could swing a studio there, it might be fun. I think your grocery would be Whole Foods P St.

    • I was thinking of those too – if she has the money to buy , the location can’t be beat. I don’t recall there being many basement apartments in Mt P for under $1200… (altho if she has the ability to wait til the right thing comes along she could prob find something eventually) There seem to be some affordable options in Brightwood (up towards Walter Reed, good bus service up and down 16th & 14th, less crime than Columbia Heights) and Brookland (altho maybe not super close to the Metro). The Conn Ave corridor along the Red Line going towards Chevy Chase is nice if she can find a good deal there.

  • McLean Gardens (near Tenleytown)

  • Obviously your mom is much different than mine, if she previously lived in Riggs Park, but I can’t see my mom moving to H St NE, or near Walter Reed, or Shaw, or Bloomingdale, or even Columbia Heights. And I don’t think I would want her moving to any of those places. Mt. Pleasant might work, but I’d more likely focus along Connecticut Ave, from Dupont north. Or downtown Silver Spring.

    • My thoughts exactly. Depends on the grandma, really. But even a hip and vivacious 60 year old is likely to start slowing down in the coming years.

      My folks used to come visit me in Columbia Heights, and it was a comedy of errors from the get-go: they couldn’t parallel park, got out of their car with half their luggage on display in the back window, and generally might as well have walked down the street with signs that read “Mug Me, Please”. It was not the place for them, so I can’t imagine H Street, Waterfront, and the like for them. I’m now facing the same issue as the OP — grandma might migrate to the area in the next 12-18 months. I concur with the votes in favor of Silver Spring or Van Ness. Those are urban, accessible, (relatively) affordable, and safe. They may be a little close, though … how’s about downtown Frederick??

      • If I get to be 60 and can’t learn simple new skills like parallel parking or adapting to a different environment I really hope someone will just shoot me.

      • you know, dc is actually chock full o’ grandparents, spread throughout the city, even.

      • I also think a place like SS makes more sense than Col Heights or Mt Pleasant, not because there’s anything inherent to those areas that make them inhabitable to a 60 y/o, but because the rents are expensive compared to Silver Spring, and for reasons that don’t really benefit her, e.g. quick commute to downtown, and near bars and nightlife. So she’d be paying more for something that she doesn’t need.

  • Downtown Silver Spring- It’s poppin! City feel, suburban life. What’s not to love? Gma can get her starbucks, have Metro access, have a car and park it without getting broken into. Take her lady friends to Eggspectular for brunch after Sunday Mass….

    • silver spring really is the obvious choice here.

    • I have to agree with SS…urban and hip enough to satisfy the urge, but still quiet and safe enough for a 60 year old woman. Plus, everything is right there – restaurants, groceries, movie theater, shopping. You really can’t beat it for convenience.

  • Our grandma moved to DC two years ago. We live in the Col Heights as well and moved our grandma to our basement studio and she loves it. Yes, its no Van Ness but she loves being around the area and safety has been perfectly fine for her (elderly white woman).

  • PoP: I also would like the contact info for anonymous with the apartment to rent!

  • McLean Gardens! the grandkids will have a acccess to a pool over the summer!

  • Consider Cleveland Park. It’s a great neighborhood for both young and old and has convenient metro and bus accessibility (5 minutes to Columbia Heights on the H busses). This building in particular would be a nice fit per Grandma’s requirements: Good luck in your search!

  • My mom moved to DC at age 65 to help take care of my sister’s kids. She lives in Takoma DC across the street from the Takoma Park metro in a newer building called Elevation 314 It’s a great building known for a its environmentally-friendly features (geothermal heating & cooling, etc)

    She has a 1BR with patio on the courtyard and garage parking. The garage parking makes it safe for her to come and go at night, and during the day she uses the metro all the time. It’s a great mix of being urban yet safe. I believe her rent is around $1300 + I think $90/month for parking. It’s a bit more than you wanted to spend, but I think a great deal for the area and the location, especially proximity to metro and the Takoma Park Farmers market, is fantastic.

  • I’ve been in Takoma Park for the last three years, and would definitely feel comfortable recommending it for your grandma. The city places a lot of emphasis on providing recreational activities for its older residents – everything from museum trips to yoga classes (here’s the latest newsletter so you can check it out:

    There’s a great sense of community and family here, I live on a block that’s mostly young families and elderly residents, and have never experienced any crime or harassment walking to the metro. Although I miss living in DC proper (moved out here to establish in-state tuition for UMD grad school) it’s really a quick/easy ride to see friends in Petworth/CH.

    Hope this helps, and best of luck in your search!

  • I’m 51, my husband is 56, we live on Capitol Hill just south of H and walk everywhere. 60 is hardly a decrepit age, folks, despite the “grandma” moniker. She could take the bus or walk to Eastern Market. Or take the bus or walk to Union Station. It would be a pain to go to Columbia Heights though, with the train change. otoh, the 96, 90 and 92 go to U street, so I guess it depends on how far north of there you are.

    • That’s a good point. I’m in my mid-20’s and my grandmother is in her 90’s, so I keep thinking of her instead of my 60-year-old parents.

  • May I suggest Kennedy Street. There is a new senior center there. Its on the E, 62, and 70 bus lines. Easy parking. not far from CH, Silver Spring/Takoma, or Riggs Park. I’m also renting a recently renovated 1 bedroom in her price range in the neighborhood if you’re interested.

  • These are some newer senior apartments, in the price range. They look pretty nice.

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