Forbes: New Models Give Rise to Senior Housing Alternatives

Reimagining what a community looks like and applying technology to meet home health care needs can help seniors stay in their homes for longer, according to The National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC), Forbes reports

While 90% of adults over 65 want to stay in their homes, many end up moving into senior living communities, Forbes says, citing a 2011 AARP study.

Three innovative models can help boomers who want to remain in their homes for as long as possible and those over 80 who also want to stay in their homes but have greater health needs, NAIPC said during a recent annual NAIPC meeting in Washington D.C.

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In the technology model, a combination of digital tools to keep tabs on seniors’ health can give seniors with health issues the added support they need to stay in their homes, Forbes reports, noting telemedicine support program Full Circle America. 

“My patients were telling me, ‘Don’t you ever think of putting me in a nursing home,’” Dr. Allan Teel tells Forbes about why he founded the founded Full Circle America. “But there were not very many options for these very fragile but very proud people.”

The program has reduced the number of daily hours someone needs for personal care and supervision from 24 to just two, with an additional 22 hours of monitoring via webcam and volunteers, Teel tells Forbes.

While the cost of the program ranges from $100 to $400 depending on the level of care needed, plus the start-up cost of $500 and extra $200 a month for the telemedicine service, it falls well below the price tag of an assisted living or nursing home, which can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 monthly, Teel tells Forbes.

The Village Model creates a network of support between seniors in their community, Forbes says, noting Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill Village (CHV) program.

“[CHV] is part of the Village-to-Village Movement, which helps members who live on or near Capitol Hill maintain their homes, secure transportation and find in-home care. CHV also sponsors classes and social activities for its members,” Forbes says.

The program has an annual fee of $530, or $800 per household, Forbes says.

Another model that may help more seniors age in place is an affordable-housing concept, wherein those 60 and older are offered subsidized housing to live in a community that needs their help.

One such purpose-driven model is Generations of Hope, which pairs families raising foster children with older residents who volunteer at least six hours per week doing such things as babysitting, tutoring, gardening or serving as a crossing guard.

“The strength of this model is that the families with children (or in the case of the veterans, young adults) who have special needs get extra support, while the older residents who choose to live in the community benefit from a greater sense of purpose and connection,” Mark Dunham, external affairs counsel for Generations of Hope, tells Forbes.

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Written by Cassandra Dowell

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