Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Benefits of Aging in Place

Aging in Place (AIP) is a term that describes older adults being able to live in a residence of their choosing, while maintaining quality of life, and having access to any services, which they might need (Hager, 2012). 

Why is AIP important to older adults?

  • A survey done by the AARP shows that 87 percent of adults age 65 years and older want to stay in their current home and community as they age, among people age 50 to 64, 71 percent of people want to age in place (AARP Livable Communities, 2014). 
  • A loss of social relationships and personal possessions often accompany relocation to a new living environment (Iecovich, 2014). 
  • AIP can be viewed as advantageous regarding a sense of attachment and feeling of security and familiarity in both home and community environments (Wiles, Leibing, & Guberman, 2011). 
  • Ultimately, this can lead to positive outcomes such as better physical health, improved mental well-being, and a higher quality of life (Sixsmith & Sixsmith, 2008).
  • Economic factors are another reason as to why older adults prefer to age in place.  A major benefit of AIP is cost reduction, as it less expensive for people to stay living in their homes, compared to moving to other residential care facilities (Metlife Mature Market Institute, 2013). 

Important Statistics

  • The number of Americans 65 and older in the United States is projected to increase to 55 million in 2020, to 70 million by 2030, and to 88.5 million in 2050 (Werner, 2011). 
  • According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2013), from 2004 to 2007, the median monthly payment for non-institutional long-term care was $928 compared with $5,243 for nursing homes.  This provides evidence of the economic benefits that aging in one’s own home can have on the older adult population.  
  • The cost of home modifications and remodeling is very dependent upon the individual’s home design and condition along with the individual’s needs.  In a 2010 survey, fall prevention modifications, such as removing throw rugs and installing grab bars in the bathroom were approximated to cost $1,000 or less (Metlife Mature Market Institute, 2013). 
  • A no-step entry, single-floor living, extra wide doorways and hallways and accessible electrical outlets are universal accessibility features that can improve an older adult’s ability to age in place. The 2011 American Housing Survey reported that only one percent of housing in the U.S. has all of these universal design features (Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2014) 

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