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Harvard Housing Study Highlights Need for Action

Aging population could lead to a housing crisis if steps aren't taken soon

On Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, AARP Foundation and the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University introduced the groundbreaking new report: Housing America’s Older Adults: Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population at a live event in Washington, DC.

Foundation Housing America's Older Adults

Click to view the full infographic

Focusing on the dramatic aging of the U.S population, the report called attention to key areas where challenges loom, such as in housing affordability and accessibility, as well as social connection and healthcare issues.

Related: Interactive map - see how the US is aging

The report called for concerted action from both the private and the public sector, from entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations, and from government at the local, state and national level.

AARP Foundation President Lisa Marsh Ryerson gave the opening remarks and called attention to the fact that the report calls housing the "linchpin of well-being" for older adults. Henry Cisneros, executive chairman of CityView and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was the keynote speaker and noted that "our country must face the basic facts, and today’s report makes these facts clear. We are aging. We are not ready. We’re not preparing well enough…. We can go to work now, we still have time … but we must think anew, we must plan comprehensively, we must act with determination, and we must fulfill our responsibilities as the great and compassionate nation that we are."

The Harvard report was funded by a grant from AARP Foundation, with the generous support of The Hartford. Additional support was provided by the Policy Advisory Board of the Joint Center for Housing Studies.

You can read the full report and view videos from the release event at the Joint Center for Housing Studies' website.

For more information, contact housing@aarp.org

Follow on Twitter at #housing50

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Older People And
HOUSING

Whether people 50+ own or rent, the repercussions from the recession are severe - abandoned neighborhoods, rent increases and a decrease in affordable, subsidized housing. Millions of homeowners can neither sell their homes nor receive approval to refinance their mortgages at today’s much lower interest rates. 

 

Today:

  • 19 million adults 50+ live in unaffordable or unsafe housing
  • Nearly 25% of household mortgages are underwater - meaning the mortgage is larger than the current value of the house.
  • Foreclosures have been at record levels.

Housing in the
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New Technologies to Help Seniors Age in Place

(The Wall Street Journal, June 2014) - As the population grows older, engineers and health experts are searching for new ways to prevent elderly people from injuring themselves at home. In doing so, they hope to keep people in their homes longer, a concept known as aging in place. Read

Government Recalls Bed Rails After Reported Deaths

(AARP, May 2014) - The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced the voluntary recall of more than 100,000 adult bed rails that it says can pose a serious risk of entrapment, strangulation and death. Read

Architects Live in Senior Spaces to Help Elderly

(USA Today, May 2014) - Young architects move into senior housing and live with the people they were designing housing for so they can get a feel for the needs and requirements of the residents. Read