Thursday, March 27, 2014

Helping older adults age in place in all kinds of communities

by Janet Viveiros, Center for Housing Policy

As the number of older adults in the U.S. grows exponentially, housing and healthcare professionals are looking for ways to provide adequate housing and healthcare to meet the growing and changing needs of older adults. Most older adults prefer to age in their own homes, but if their physical or mental health declines, many older adults are unable to continue live independently without assistance.

Aging in Every Place: Supportive Service Programs for High and Low Density Communities, a report I co-authored with Maya Brennan and Dr. Lisa Sturtevant, explores home- and community-based
supportive service programs where housing, human service, and healthcare organizations work together to provide a variety of supportive services to help frail older adults remain in their homes.

While there are common barriers to aging in place if an individual’s health declines, older adults face unique challenges in different kinds of communities, such as limited access to transportation or healthcare. Aging in Every Place profiles home- and community-based supportive service programs and models tailored to the needs of older adults in the following kinds of communities:
  • Multifamily buildings in dense neighborhoods.
  • Single-family homes and smaller multifamily buildings clustered in neighborhoods.
  • Single-family homes dispersed across a county or region.
Despite the fact that each profiled program is different in terms of structure and services, they share three common principles that contribute to their success. They are:
  • Guided by the preferences of older adults.
  • Evolved to serve a wide range of needs.
  • Built upon partnerships with service providers and community stakeholders.
The home- and community-based supportive service programs profiled in Aging in Every Place offer models that other communities can use to help older adults overcome barriers to aging in place in their own neighborhood or region.

To learn more about the supportive service programs and principles for success in home- and community-based aging in place programs, read the full report.

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