With the growing number of older adults desiring to age in place, it is essential to consider how to help make this possible. Of utmost importance is how to meet the housing needs of older adults by providing accessible, safe and affordable homes. For this reason, AARP and the Center for Housing Policy created this toolkit to discuss housing planning and policies that can help local planners and government leaders meet the housing needs of older adults.
The site includes a webinar introduction to the toolkit and is divided into three categories, including housing safety and affordability, transit and social services options, and housing models for older adults. Each category provides a rationale, answering basic questions on the importance of the strategy, as well as ways to implement it.
Toolkit highlights include:
- It is important to create a range of housing options because while single-family detached housing units might be reasonable for some older adults, the upkeep and maintenance, and in turn the affordability, might be unappealing or unrealistic for others. For this reason, communities should strive to offer a variety of housing options.
- Barriers such as narrow doorways and no first-level bathrooms might make it hard for older adults to bathe, enter and exit the houses, and perform other everyday tasks, leading to an unwanted and premature move to an institutionalized setting that can limit older adults’ independence and alter their emotional state. Universal design and visitability standards help to make houses more accessible to people with all abilities by encouraging such features as main floor bathrooms, zero-step entrances, multiple counter top heights, lever faucets, and wide interior doorways.
- In each category, the planner will want to explore the link titled “Learn More” at the bottom of the initial page. Within the category of safety and affordability this leads to state and local activities that can be conducted to promote affordability in housing. Within the second category of transit and social services options, it leads to various forms of transportation options or different housing and service options available to the local planner.
How to Use
It is a rare toolbox that accomplishes the theoretical and the practical at the same time. Community planners and local leaders seeking to expand housing options to include older residents will want to bookmark this site. It offers insights on which housing issues to consider and why, as well as examples and resources to download.