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America is aging

America is aging

The exploding senior population in the U.S. presents an opportunity for the private sector to design communities that will provide housing and access to support services. According to Builder Magazine, individuals aged 65 and older will more than double in size to 88 million by the year 2050, based on data reported by the Center for Housing Policy’s “Housing an Aging Population: Are We Prepared?” 

Since aging in place is an increasingly desirable option for older households — an AARP study indicates that 9 out of 10 responded that they would like to stay in their homes for as long as possible — residential housing options must increase and expand. The Center identifies the need for these measures:

  • Universal design in new homes that promote building codes that are older-friendly
  • Flexible zoning rules that promote a diversity of housing types
  • Preservation and expansion of the supply of affordable rental housing
  • Greater consumer choices that include public and private supportive housing models (assisted living, continuing care retirement communities, and congregant housing)

Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center for Housing Policy and one of the study’s authors, notes that the private building sector will play a critical role in proposing solutions, if it correctly anticipates the need. One size no longer fits all. Builders should focus on diversifying products that are workable for aging citizens at a range of income levels and partnering with organizations that provide assistance with personal and medical care, meal preparation, and transportation. The communities with the greatest access to these services will soon be in high demand.