The movement toward aging in place is fit for some, not all, writes a gerontologist taking a recent look into the retiring population.
And while aging in place made easier through community based services and offerings is effective among some communities, gerontologist and geographer Stephen Golant writes in a report for the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Initiatives toward aging in place will best serve the retiring population if they are geared toward a specific population and avoid overlap with other similar programs, he says.
“Age-friendly-community strategies should target healthy middle-class seniors,” Golant concludes, noting the potential for overlap in programs that cater to the highly-needs based senior who can qualify for government assistance.
“These initiatives should primarily serve the large and growing segment of middle-class seniors who are neither poor nor rich. This often overlooked but very large group of people often find themselves outside the current safety net of long-term care and housing programs offered by governments, but unable to afford private-sector solutions to their problems.”
But health, too, is another pillar of a successful aging in place movement, he says.
“Instead of trying to help the most frail older people remain independent in their homes as long as possible, age-friendly initiatives should primarily target relatively healthy and physically able older people and help them remain active, productive and involved in their communities,” he says.
More research is needed, Golant argues, before deeming aging in place a solution for all.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker