Aging Boomers Pose Challenges to Assisted Living

An influx in the number of older adults in the coming years presents a challenge to both the nation’s housing and healthcare industries, and assisted living might not be able to solve this crisis, a recent study suggests. 

A new report published by the National Housing Conference suggests that home- and community-based services are more in tune with the desires of aging Americans rather than institutional settings like nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

The report, Aging in Every Place: Supportive Service Programs for High and Low Density Communities, argues that home- and community-based services are a “cost-effective strategy” that can help older adults maintain their quality of life, regardless if they live in cities, suburbs or rural America. 

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Home- and community-based services can also solve the “paradigm of care” for the number of older adults living in American, which is expected to double to over 88 million adults age 65 or older by 2050, according to data from the Center for Housing Policy cited in the report.  

National Housing Conference finds three elements that are essential to success: program development guided by the preferences of older adults, programs that evolve to serve a wide range of needs, and programs built on partnerships with services providers and community stakeholders. 

Some of these supports and program features can include proximity to neighbors, the presence and accessibility of  a public transportation system or the availability of public meeting places for seniors. 

Caring for older adults in their homes instead of in institutional settings, is “far less” expensive and satisfies the desire of most older adults to remain in their homes, said Research Associate and co-author Janet Viveiros in a statement. 
 
“Many older adults move into nursing homes if they begin to have difficulty completing basic tasks on their own, like bathing or eating, Viveiros said. “Home- and community-based supportive services can help frail older adults care for themselves in their own homes and achieve better health outcomes than if they moved to a nursing home or assisted living facility.”

Written by Jason Oliva

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