Aging in Place: Evidence Matters

Center Post

This edition highlights research underway in conjunction with LeadingAge's Center on Applied Research, and models of achieving aging in place in non-subsidized settings as well.

The fall 2013 edition of HUD's Evidence Matters (a journal put out by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Policy Development and Research) hits close to home for many families as they or their relatives age and consider their evolving needs.  Although aging in place was once the norm in U.S. society, modern land use trends and housing stock design make this goal increasingly difficult to achieve today.

The issue introduces the demographic trends and preferences of seniors to age safely and comfortably in the homes and communities of their choice. It outlines several of the strategies that seniors, local officials, and policymakers are pursuing to promote aging in place, with special attention to community-centered efforts in Atlanta, San Diego, and Newton, Massachusetts. 

The issue also surveys research efforts to measure the cost, health, and wellness benefits of aging in place.  

This edition highlights research underway  in conjunction with LeadingAge's Center for Applied Research, and models of achieving aging in place in non-subsidized settings as well.

The feature article, "Aging in Place: Facilitating Choice and Independence," reviews the trends underpinning the issue and looks at the federal, state, and local programs and policies for the elderly that are accommodating a shift away from institutional living and toward aging in place with supports.

The Research Spotlight article, "Measuring the Costs and Savings of Aging in Place," examines efforts to measure the potential health cost savings (as well as
improvements in well-being) to families and the government when individuals are able to age in their homes with assistance, reinforcing the argument that housing matters.

Finally, grassroots efforts to aid the elderly in their communities and provide practical solutions for the supportive services necessary to age in place are examined in the In Practice article, "Community-Centered Solutions for Aging at Home." 

Key Findings

  • Economic and demographic shifts are creating a rising need for affordable, age-appropriate housing options for seniors wishing to remain in their homes and communities as they age.
  • Homes can be modified, communities can be adapted, and seniors can be better connected to supports and services to facilitate aging in place.
  • Naturally Occurring Retirement Community Supportive Services Programs and Villages have shown promise in helping seniors remain in their homes with a high degree of independence and social engagement.
  • Research suggests that aging in place initiatives may yield cost savings to families, governments, and health systems as well as health, emotional, and social benefits to aging seniors and the broader community.

In this Issue:  

HUD held a briefing January 9, 2013 (Visions for Aging in Place: Challenges for the Future) with panelists including Alisha Sanders from the LeadingAge Center for Housing Plus Services to discuss elements of this report. Presentations were quick and informative. 

The webcast should be available shortly in the HUD webcast archives.