Most older adults prefer to age in place, independently, for as long as possible. This is possible with appropriate care giving resources, physical design changes, and access to needed services. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) desired to learn more about the demographics of elderly residents, the agency assists, the ages at which these residents leave assisted housing, and the strategies that could enhance elderly residents’ ability to live safely and comfortably in HUD-assisted housing for as long as possible.
This report, prepared for HUD, contains information on aging in place and concludes, from a review of current literature, that the most commonly cited factor affecting the length of time elderly residents can remain in their homes is access to quality support services. While access to quality support services is a main reason that older adults cannot age in place, costly and intensive interventions are not necessarily needed in all cases. Assistance with simple housekeeping and lifting of heavy objects were two of the most widely reported unmet service needs.
Other report highlights include:
- An elderly adult heads nearly 37 percent of households that receive HUD housing assistance, and the average age of residents leaving HUD housing programs is 78 years old.
- To age in place many older adults will need to incorporate some accessibility features, such as lever door handles, ramps, wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, nonslip floor surfaces, and bathroom aids.
- Households headed by females, who do not have a disability, and who are white have higher average ages of end of participation than those headed by someone who is male, has a disability, or is a member of a minority group.
How to Use
For local planners and leaders there is not only important demographic information provided in this report, but also information on promoting aging in place. While access to quality support services is the most commonly noted factor affecting the length of time elderly residents can remain in their homes, it is also important to consider social networks, home modifications, and accessible public transportation. Lastly, there are lessons from promising program models that can be adapted and utilized based on the needs in any community.