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Housing Policy Solutions to Support Aging in Place – 2010

Overview

The term “aging in place” describes an arrangement where older adults can age in their current residence or community for as long as physically possible. In a 2005 survey conducted by AARP, 89 percent of respondents age 50 years and older stated they would prefer to stay in their homes indefinitely while they age. This fact sheet, produced by AARP, discusses the need for public policy to support a variety of housing options for older adults, specifically those that allow them to age in place.

Key Points

The vast majority of older adults would like the opportunity to age in their current residences and communities. The fact sheet provides a brief overview to the concept of aging in place and addresses challenges and solutions to make aging in place possible. In order for aging in place to be a viable solution for aging adults a combination of things need to take place: long-term care services and supports in the home need to be available, homes need to be accessible and accommodating, and the community needs to provide various features (e.g., transportation, nearby services, affordable housing).

Other report highlights include:

  1. Studies have shown that living independently encourages successful aging for older adults through improved self-esteem, health, and life satisfaction.
  2. Existing homes may not be physically accessible for older adults. Modifications can be made to make these dwellings more age-friendly, for example, installing handrails or ramps to accommodate a wheelchair.
  3. In many communities, the existing housing market does not offer a variety of affordable choices that would accommodate the needs of older adults.
    Living on a fixed income leaves retirees struggling to keep pace with housing costs.

How to Use

The fact sheet provides insight on the challenges associated with aging in place, as well as, helpful solutions to combat such challenges. City planners and local government officials can use this fact sheet to gain a better understanding of how to improve the livability of their communities by ensuring affordable and accessible housing for all residents. The fact sheet provides specific examples of areas that are focused on building livable communities through strategies pertaining to integrated land use, housing and transportation policy, the implementation of “complete streets,” and the creation of affordable and accessible housing options.

View full report: Housing Policy Solutions to Support Aging in Place – 2010 (PDF – 68 KB)

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