Washington Post: Cities Must Adapt to Changing Senior Housing Needs

Few cities and densely-populated urban areas offer residential options for seniors, The Washington Post reports, noting recent trends in senior living that show cities must adapt to meet seniors’ changing needs.

“Most senior housing is located instead in low-density suburbs or in small towns, where land is cheap and development costs are lower,” writes Roger K. Lewis, architect and professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland, for The Washington Post. “At the same time, services for seniors in those areas are often dispersed and limited.”

While large numbers of rental and condominium units are being developed within cities, Lewis says those housing units are usually marketed to younger singles or couples, and can only meet the needs of seniors “who can live independently, who have sufficient assets and income and who are willing to leave behind most of their furniture and collectibles.”


Lewis says real estate developers, investors, health-care providers and others should recognize that the number of seniors who want to live in cities will continue to grow as the senior population expands.

And, unlike low— and moderate—income families seeking urban housing, many seniors will have the means to afford spacious, updated apartments after selling their suburban homes at prices reflecting greatly appreciated value and equity, he says.

“Cities must adopt land use, zoning and fiscal policies that encourage and support private-sector development or redevelopment specifically tailored to meet the housing and health-care needs of seniors,” he writes. “… a potentially large market for seniors who want to reside in cities has yet to be tapped.”


Written by Cassandra Dowell

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