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Aging in Place: Evolution of a Research Topic Whose Time Has Come


Aging in place has become a much more understood concept over the past 30 years, and ultimately the emphasis that has been placed on it by policy makers and researchers, amongst others, has made it a much more attainable and worthwhile goal. This is mainly due to a shift in priorities and resources toward deinstitutionalization that have led to an increased number of programs and policies that support helping aging adults live independently in their homes and communities for as long as possible. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the evolution of aging in place as a research topic, and determine how these progressive changes have influenced and may continue to influence policy related to services, environment, and technology.

Key Points

Research on aging in place has expanded from simply understanding older adults and the changes that are occurring within them, as well as their environment. Research on the topic has expanded to consider services and technologies as important contributors to older adults’ ability to age in place.

Other article highlights include:

  1. There has been a growing number of topics researched related to aging in place, including housing, environment, health, and technology, among others.
  2. Concerns about the increasing costs of institutional long-term care have escalated and policy makers have made this a focus in their efforts.
  3. Grants related to aging in place have become more prevalent, most likely due to the increased reprioritization of deinstitutionalization.

How to Use

While this paper focuses on the research that has been conducted on aging in place in the past 30 years, with specific emphasis on the expansion of this research topic, it also details barriers to aging at home. These barriers include limited funding for programs that provide home modifications, service delivery issues, consumer awareness and training issues, and poor communication among government agencies that address health, housing, and services for older adults and people with disabilities. As a result of these remaining barriers, it is noted that there is still a need for research and policy development. This paper is an interesting and important read for local planners and leaders interested in the evolution of aging in place, as well as the policies, services, and programs that still need to be addressed.

View full report: Aging in Place: Evolution of a Research Topic Whose Time Has Come (PDF – 152 KB)

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