As the baby boomer generation (generally defined as those born between 1946 and 1964) gets older, the number of senior citizens is expected to increase significantly over the next 20 years.
According to a 2014 study released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University:
“Over the next two decades, more than 27.7 million people will join the 50-and over age group. Most of the increase, however, will be among the population aged 65 and over, projected to surge by 65 percent by 2030.”
In the midst of this unprecedented growth, the Harvard University study has identified four housing- related challenges commonly encountered by senior citizens. With the senior population steadily increasing, these challenges are likely to become even more acute in the coming years.
- Housing Costs May Jeopardize Older Adults’ Financial Security. Rent and mortgage payments are generally among the highest monthly households expenses, and many older Americans are living on reduced or fixed-income incomes. In order to afford the increasing costs of housing-related expenses, many seniors are forced to cut back on other necessities such as food and medical care.
- Current Housing Stock Lacks Basic Accessibility Features. Many low-income seniors with disabilities are unable to afford accessibility modifications, preventing them from living safely and comfortably in their homes.
- Without Cars, Older Adults Are at Risk of Becoming Home Bound. With more than half of older households living in suburban or rural areas, aging Americans who are unable or unwilling to drive may find themselves home bound and disconnected from friends and family. Home bound seniors miss out on social interaction that can enhance physical and emotional well-being.
- Lack of In-Home Health Options Threatens Independence. In-home health services are expensive and affordable service-enriched housing is in scarce supply. Low-income seniors who cannot access healthcare services where they live may be at higher risk of premature institutionalization.
Click here to read the full study, including policy recommendations for addressing each of the housing challenges identified.
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