NY Times: Senior Housing Not Cutting it on Meeting Residents’ Needs

Aging adults living in senior housing are more likely to have unmet needs than those living in their own apartments, homes or condos, research shows. 

And the numbers are “unsettling,” writes Paula Span in a recent New York Times column

Of those who had difficulty with activities of daily living (ADL) or received help with them, about 31% of older adults in traditional housing reported having unmet needs in the past month.


But so did 37% of those in retirement or senior housing, who were significantly more likely than people living in their own homes to have gone without hot meals, to have been unable to do laundry or go shopping, to bathe or to go outdoors, Span writes, citing a recently published study in The Journals of Gerontology. 

The study’s authors, Brenda Spillman and Vicki Freedman, have investigated aging issues for years, and recently uncovered the older cohort’s “sheer amount” of unmet needs, a term gerontologists use to refer to care or help people need but don’t get. 

In assisted living, in particular, residents face steep challenges: More than 41% reported an issue in the past month.


The biggest problem? Residents were significantly more likely than those living outside senior housing to be unable to get to a bathroom promptly. In fact, one in five assisted living residents reported being unable to use a toilet before soiling or wetting themselves. 

“So on the face of it, this looks as though moving out of your house and into a retirement community or assisted living facility doesn’t do much for you: Unmet needs are actually more prevalent there,” Span writes. 

To read the full article, click here

Written by Emily Study