According to a new AARP study on housing among the 45+ population, many mid-life Americans are not fully prepared for their future housing needs. They want to stay in their houses as they age, but aren’t making the necessary changes to age in place.
AARP’s study “These Four Walls…Americans 45+ Talk About Home and Community,” finds that more than four-in-five people, 83 percent, say they own their own home and the majority are not considering buying a new home in the next five years. And while these parents 45+ homeowners want to live near their families, most are not counting on their children to help take care of them when they get older.
“One of the most consistent findings from the study is that people think they will be able to stay in their current homes for the rest of their lives,” said Elinor Ginzler, manager of AARP’s Independent Living/Long-Term Care Initiative. “We also found that community characteristics and services are just as important as home features for successful aging in place. We have a lot of education to do in these areas.”
The good news is that most Americans 45+ say they have a full bathroom and bedroom on the main level and the percentage goes up after age 65. “These are very important features for 45+ homeowners because they enable them to live on one floor,” said Linda Barrett, senior research advisor for AARP. “While only half of homeowners anticipate that they will need to change their home as they age, our gap analysis shows that Americans 45+ consider some home features important that are not currently available in their home.”
Other steps that help support aging in place and a more independent lifestyle are:
– Replace door knobs with lever door handles
– Install non-slip floor surfaces
– Widen doorways
– Make outlets and switches easier to reach
The study also revealed community characteristics that Americans 45+ consider important for aging in place. These characteristics include:
– Living in safe neighborhoods
– Closer proximity to hospitals and their doctor’s office
– Being close to places of worship
– Having easy access to shopping centers and grocery/drug stores
Survey respondents also noted the importance of community services that would help them remain in their homes as they age, including door-to-door transportation, home delivered meals and health monitoring services. However, it’s important to note that a substantial proportion of respondents say they do not know if their community offers services such as nutrition programs and contractors who specialize in home modifications.
To see the full study online please visit, AARP’s Research Site.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. We provide information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; Segunda Juventud, our quarterly newspaper in Spanish; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our Web site, www.aarp.org. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.