A senior is anyone in their sixties and above. Sometimes even a 55 year old person is considered a senior citizen. In the old days, you would rarely ever find a senior citizen living in an urban area. The ‘shoshos’ and the ‘gukas’ all resided at home and only ventured into the city to visit. Things are different now and you will find senior citizens still working and renting houses along with the lower generations. Unlike in some countries where senior citizens are discriminated against. Thankfully the culture of respecting and accepting your elders in Kenya is still rampant. Below are some factors t consider while renting in Nairobi as a senior citizen or just on the higher end of 50. Housemate
As a senior citizen, a lot will be dependent on if you live alone or with people. Living alone past the age of 60 presents some issues especially if you are not in perfect health. Even then there will be some reservations about it. If you have a house mate like a friend or family then you will be covered in most of the instances below. If not then you will need to be vigilant about things like safety and the environment in which you live.
This is not to be confused with security. This is protection against accidents. Things like falls and slips. Senior citizens despite their best efforts do get weaker as time goes by. Their bodies start to disintegrate. That means that the chances of slipping on the stairs or losing balance in the shower increase with every birthday. As a senior citizen you should accept this reality and look out for safety hazards around your potential rental. Even with a particularly senior friendly rental, invest in a bunch of accessories like non-slip mats and railings for the washrooms. Otherwise you could find out just how inconvenient it is to break your hip.
There are two probably and possibly detrimental assumptions that malicious parties will make. The first is that they will assume that with your age you have valuable things in your house. The second is that you will not be strong enough to fight and could even forget to properly lock your house. Bottom line is that depending on how senior you are, you could be targeted especially in a place with very few tenants your age. You should find a building with excellent security features. You should also take steps to up your own security once you move in.
Some people are fine living right next to the Thika Superhighway where there is noise at all hours of the night. Noise ranging from ‘matatus’ to police sirens to illegal racing. If you are anything like other senior citizens then you like your silence. You like to marinate in your own thoughts. You like to enjoy a book or a documentary at the end of the day. You should therefore shy away from houses that are too close to the shopping centre.
Venture deeper into the neighborhood where there will be more silence. You should also seek out neighborhoods with a more serene atmosphere. An example would be a choice between Githurai 44 and Golden Gate Estate in South B. In this case you should obviously choose South B. It is relatively quiet and clean unlike 44 where it is always noisy and somewhat messy. If you rent in a building where 90% of residents are millennials then really you are just asking for noisy weekends with competing tastes in music.
You should also find place with physically conducive features. An example would be the stairs. If you are being offered the fifth floor of a building with no elevator then you should definitely think twice about it. At your age you could be healthy but living on a five flight walk up is pushing it.
You should aim for convenience in terms of commuting. If you have a car then you may aim for the outskirts of Nairobi like Syokimau and Thika or Saika. These places are quiet and not too hard to get to and from. It could be a little problematic during rush hours though. If you do not have a car then find a place with very good public service access. This is not to say that you should find a place where ‘matatus’ will drop you right to your doorstep. It should however get you relatively close. You can have a walk in the evening after work but it should not be so long that you dread it.
You should also consider the amenities available. Will you be able to get your food shopping done some place close? Is there a hospital or clinic in close proximity in case you develop an issue? Are there entertainment spots where you can go unwind and laugh with your buddies on a weekend? Do you feel that you will have everything you need if you move to that hood?
This is really applicable to everyone. Ensure that your family and/or some very close friends know where you live. Ensure that the landlord and/or caretaker have your emergency contact numbers. It is important for people to know who to reach in case of an emergency. It is better to be safe than sorry. Prompt action can save your life.
The key is here is being realistic and paying attention to the needs of someone your age. Extra care and caution must be taken as you are a lot more brittle and fragile now than when you were in your twenties. The point is not to ask for special treatment but rather to pick something that will suit your needs.