One in every five Americans—nearly 80 million people—will be over 65 in 20 years, and surveys suggest that almost 90% intend to stay in their own homes as long as possible. However, the nation now lacks the affordable housing and accompanying social services required to meet these needs.
In particular, the four issues are;
- The majority of houses in the United States are inaccessible to older adults with limited mobility.
- Many older Americans who remain at home will need pricey long-term care.
- Millions of older adults cannot maintain their present living arrangements due to financial constraints.
- Isolation is common among older adults who live alone.
We invite you to join us in another episode of This Is Getting Old with these circumstances in mind. Today’s episode is Part 6: Housing—the 6th episode of the 10-part AARP/ Age-Friendly Social Innovation Challenge.
Watch the full episode to learn more about housing-related issues, programs, and innovative solutions for older adults.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️Aging In America As Seen In Nomadland
Have you watched Nomadland?
The 2020 movie Nomadland has so many issues related to aging in America, from managing multiple chronic illnesses while living in a van, to finding employment after the age of 60. But it also has some heartwarming scenes because it demonstrates the importance of having a social network and being connected to other people, no matter how old you are. The movie shows resilience and how some older adults find a solution to losing their homes.
✔️ Housing – Scenario
Monica, 67 years old, is living in Alexandria. She’s lived in the same neighborhood for 30 years, a small two-bedroom house and her partner died about seven years ago. Since her arthritis has gotten worse, she’s been thinking about leaving her home so she can afford to move, but nothing in her neighborhood is affordable. She’s worried that she’ll need in-home care or need to remodel her home and make it more accessible for mobility declines. Monica got a home equity loan on her house to help her kids buy their own homes. Also, Monica’s currently living on Social Security, which will not cover higher housing or care costs.
✔️ Housing – Problem Statement
Monica needs a way to transform her community because she has roots, connections, and a sense of community written into the fabric of her life.
✔️ Housing – Innovative Solutions
To help Monica and others access more affordable options and resources, we need to reframe the conversation around zoning and land use in our communities to increase density and encourage mixed-use.
More notably, community support, family, and friends are important for Monica—this is important for all of us – no matter how old we are.
✔️ Aging In Place Solutions for Older Adults
Aging in Place begins with Housing. Ideas to solve these problems include;
- Forward-thinking when designing communities as Ryan Frederick does – retro-fitting spaces to be physically accessible and safe with universal design solutions.
If you’d like to learn more about Housing options and different models for housing, you can visit the AARP website on Housing in Livable Communities.
You can also check out episode 40 on the Role of Place in Healthy Aging with Ryan Frederick on MelissaBPhD.com or on our YouTube channel.
- CAPABLE stands for Community Aging In Place: Advancing Better Living for Elders and is a person-directed, home-based solution that addresses both functional ability and healthcare expenses. CAPABLE provides integrated services by an Occupational Therapist, a Registered Nurse, and a handyman who all work together with the older adult to set goals and develop a plan to change behaviors to improve health and promote independence and safety.
If you’d like to learn more about this program, you can visit the website or email CAPABLEinfo@jhu.edu for more information.
You may also have another idea for a solution – or know of a program that would help older adults and their families facing similar challenges. Please add your comments below.
We’d love to hear from you!
If you have questions, comments, or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question.
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (‘96) and Master of Science in Nursing (‘00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I truly enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home and office visits) then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer.
I obtained my PhD in Nursing and a post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing (2011) ) and then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the faculty at George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor where I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health and Humanities.
Find out more about her work HERE.