A Harvard University study notes that demand for housing and services for seniors isn't keeping up with supply.
The Joint Center for Housing Studies (at Harvard University) published their report in December of 2016, and they found several startling trends. The report titled; Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Households 2015-2035, noted that the existing infrastructure (physical and services infrastructure) required for aging adults to stay in their own homes, just isn't keeping up with our aging demographics.
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Features like single floor design plans, wide doors and hallways, and zero-step entrances are known as universal design elements. The Harvard University report indicates that only 3.5% of homes meet these universal design elements. Other features that help seniors stay in their homes longer include walk-in tubs, senior friendly kitchens, and safe bathroom design.
Harvard Study: Housing and Services for Seniors
Universal design (close relation to inclusive design) refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities, and people with disabilities. – Wikipedia
Buying a home with these universal design elements is tough enough. Making modifications to an existing home is downright expensive. Did you know that buying a walk-in bath tub can cost you thousands? That's before hiring a plumber, electrician, and a contractor to install the thing!
The Harvard study confirmed that aging adults, their children, and the population at large, aren't ready for the financial implications of the silver tsunami that is upon us and growing.
The Harvard report notes that by 2035, more than one in five people in the US will be aged 65 and older and one in three households will be headed by someone in that age group. Without more innovative thinking around the issue of housing and services for seniors, we'll be facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions.
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