Study Highlights Need for “Creative” Senior Housing Models

With a significant portion of New York seniors toeing the poverty line, a recent study urges policymakers to address the growing gap in the senior housing supply. 

More than a quarter of New York seniors are near or below the federal poverty threshold defined in 2012 as $11,170 for single households, and $15,130 for 2-person households, according to the report.

One way to address these findings, LeadingAge’s study Senior Housing in New York State suggests, is to provide programs and partnerships that focus on an aging-in-place model for all seniors.

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One of these “creative” housing models includes a technology-enabled senior housing that allows older adults to participate in both active and passive health monitoring as well as socialization activities, LeadingAge writes. 

This calls for partnerships between housing providers and community organizations that enhance the opportunities for seniors to engage in wellness activities, such as the co-location of managed long-term care providers and subsidized senior housing to allow ill, older residents to safely age-in-place. 

A change in attitude might also facilitate more seniors to age-in-place, through transforming housing providers from landlords into advocates that monitor residents’ health and well-being.

Senior Housing operators in New York State, as well as nationwide, have developed creative housing with service models that can be replicated, however, a lack of public funding may be a roadblock to many organizations. 

“Increasing on-site access to both health care and support services will become more important as the population ages and becomes less mobile,” study authors write.

Organizations like Flushing House, People Inc. in NY state have recognized the potential of offering these types of services to their residents, which LeadingAge hopes will become the norm rather than the exception as demand increases and government policy encourages coordination of support. 

Other states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont have also implemented programs that directly address housing, support services and health care needs of low-income seniors. 

They do so, the study writes, by bringing together multiple stakeholders like housing providers, health care professionals, and community-based service organizations.

Regulations and licensure requirements in New York, especially in assisted living residences, prevents the ability to implement service models that allow housing providers to coordinate and directly provide home and community-based services. 

Written by Jason Oliva