With 78 million baby boomers entering or on the verge of retirement, a concerted national effort is required to adapt homes and communities for the 73 percent of seniors who prefer to age in place, according to a new report released yesterday by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).
The preference to grow older in one’s own home and community stems from a desire among many seniors to remain close to family and friends and maintain the social connections that have enriched their lives. They appreciate the familiarity of their own homes as well as that of the local shopping center, the community library, and their place of worship. They want to remain close to doctors, nurses, social workers, and the other professional service providers upon whom they have come to rely, according to research by AARP
That’s bad news for the nation’s real estate and housing finance industries, who have been anticipating a flood of transactions from Boomers selling their long-time residences. But its good news for remodelers eager to retrofit family homes to make them senior-safe.
Source: Adapted from Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Housing America’s Older Adults: Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population. JCHS tabulations of US Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2011
Many homes and communities are ill-equipped to accommodate this desire. Many of today’s homes were designed at an earlier time, before the demographic changes now transforming the country were even recognized. Most lack the necessary structural features that can make independent living into old age a viable, and communities so they are “senior friendly”. the BPC said.