Hi Huskers and thanks for your question.
Personally, there are many parts of San Jose that would be appropriate for your parents, but the better questions to ask, especially for seniors, will center around access and mobility and then housing costs. A surprisingly large number of seniors are living well into their 80s and 90s, so access to public transportation and proximity to basic supplies, such as food, shopping, medication and hospital or doctor services (within walking distance), is a necessary consideration.
Also to be considered is traffic patterns in the area since many seniors do like to drive well into their 80s and fast moving traffic that never seems to let up on surface streets leading to the market or doctors, for example, can present both safety and access problems for seniors. Many of the roads in these areas are multi-laned, and will require the senior to cross multiple lanes of traffic to head toward markets or back home.
Finally, consider the house itself for your parents. Although many would like single family homes with yards fore and aft, it may be more convenient for your parents to consider patio homes where a homeowners association will maintain the exterior of the building, but will still afford your parents a small garden area. Also consider the age and condition of the property, since older homes can require both extensive and expensive repairs, which can be a burden for those on fixed incomes. The area in which your parents are focusing has a nice combination of smaller, single story homes with smaller lots that can provide a great living place for your parents.
Work with an agent who is sensitive to the needs of older citizens and who also knows the area well. Realtors who specialize in or have training to address the issues of older home owners and buyers have the "SRES" or Senior Real Estate Specialist designation. For a list of SRES certified Realtors in your area, go to www.sres.org.
Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
Tel (408) 426-1616