Laurie MacNaughton ©2016
Ok, so we’re not exactly dealing with breaking news when we see Harvard’s housing research team reporting a shortage of senior-appropriate housing.
In fact, everywhere we look we see evidence of the shortage in senior-appropriate housing: Warrenton, Leesburg, Middleburg, Reston, Oakton, Arlington – pretty much everywhere you look in the greater D.C. Area you see new construction. But many of the new homes are multilevel “starter castles”…as I call them.
Harvard’s Center for Housing Policy study, titled “Housing an Aging Population,” backs up observations with numbers, and they’re a bummer.
Among other things, the report documents:
Within the next couple decades the population aged 65 and older will increase 120 percent. Over the same period the number of our oldest Americans, those aged 85 and older, will increase more than 200 percent.
Wowzers, right? But here’s where the report gets really scary:
- The need for appropriate housing will radically outpace the availability of appropriate homes.
- One in four households aged 85 and older spend at least half their income on housing.
- Housing challenges are particularly severe for older adults with very low incomes – and most household incomes decline after the age of 85.
The takeaway? Pretty straightforward:
The number of older adults is rising. The need for affordable senior-appropriate housing is rising. But affordable options are not rising.
Not everyone can age in place. That’s just the hard truth. However, for those whose can age in place, everyone involved benefits. But we need to urge our communities to support construction of appropriate housing.
We can do this.
It’s just a matter of doing it.