A growing population of Baby Boomers poses significant challenges to both the nation’s housing market and healthcare industry, however, a recent study suggests home- and community-based services can help quell any crises related to aging in place.
Population shifts among older adults is creating a “growing urgency” within the healthcare and housing fields, says a report from the National Housing Conference (NHC) titled Aging in Every Place: Supportive Service Programs for High and Low Density Communities.
By 2050, the number of adults age 65 and older is expected to double to over 88 million, according to data from the Center for Housing Policy cited in the report.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that over 65% of older adults have multiple chronic illnesses, which limits their ability to complete basic daily tasks like eating or bathing, yet 90% of adults aged 45 and older say they want to stay in their homes “for as long as possible” as they aged, according to survey data from AARP.
Institutional settings like nursing homes, and even assisted living facilities, may not be fit for the task of addressing the housing and healthcare-related challenges that this swelling older demographic poses—unlike home- and community-based programs that can help older adults age in place, NHC suggests.
“Many older adults move into nursing homes if they begin to have difficulty completing basic tasks on their own, like bathing or eating,” stated Research Associate and co-author Janet Viveiros. “Home- and community-based supportive services can help frail older adults care for themselves in their own homes and achieve better health outcomes than if they moved to a nursing home or assisted living facility.”
Effective home- and community-based service programs, NHC says, are ones that offer a wide array of services that specifically deal with community features such as proximity to medical facilities, access to public transportation and utilization of nearby community centers.
Supportive services are also believed to facilitate housing stability and overall well-being for aging homeowners and renters alike.
“The number of older adults will bring increasing demands for on-site supportive services at affordable housing developments as well as integrated in the community, and this report shows that models exist to accommodate these needs in every type of community,” said Senior Research Associate Maya Brennan, who also co-authored the report.
Written by Jason Oliva