Meet Laurie in one of the following places:

Boston area -- July 17-August 26, 2015

Boston, September 15-16, 2015

LeadingAge Boston November 1-4, 2015

Health 2.0, Santa Clara, CA, October 4-7, 2015

 

Related News Articles

07/24/2015

Technology can help people stay at home longer.

07/14/2015

At summit, experts discussed making technology accessible to seniors. A study on topic was also released by AARP.

07/14/2015

A new study that suggests the start of middle age is no longer 45 or 50 but, instead, 60.

07/13/2015

Honor hopes to start a trend of tech companies focusing on the needs of seniors.

Market Research Reports

Updated: (01-29-2015) Technology Market Overview Report Click here

Published: (06-20-2014) Challenging Innovators 2014 Report Click here

Published (03-08-2013) Next Generation Response Systems Click here

Updated (8-25-2012) Aging and Health Technology Report Click here

Updated (7-31-2012) The Future of Home Care Technology Click here

Published (2-14-2012) Linkage Technology Survey Age 65-100 Report Click here

Published (4-29-2011) Connected Living for Social Aging Report Click here

You are here

Home is where you are – but can you stay?

Seniors want to stay where they are – especially women.  In November, AARP reported results of its survey of older adults (sigh: now 45+) about where they want to live. Similar to other AARP studies, 88% of the 65+ population is in agreement that they want to stay in their current residence for as long as possible, pushed up to 89% for women overall, and up further to 90% for the 50+ population with incomes between $25K and $50K per year.  Maybe we interpret that as happy with one's current comfort level or maybe that represents responders' inability to afford a move that would provide the same degree of comfort or community.

 

The community’s characteristics are enablers – but transportation isn’t. In terms of importance, the majority of older adults (65+) rank being near friends and family, near where they want to go, proximity to church/social organizations and ease of walking as important. Ironically, small percentages (< 25%) cared about being near transit, whether that is because they drive everywhere and want to keep doing so (although 20% of women aged 65+ do not drive). Perhaps there are only limited options for transit where they live, except for the poorest of the responders, where transit mattered to 29% of them. 

For most, their homes present future and unanticipated barriers. Proving the point again and again that older adults will not plan ahead, the majority of responders (60%) or more, reported that their homes required entrance steps and that they were fitted only with standard doorway widths. The result is that as women age past 70 into their 80's, often outliving men, they may have a tough time getting into their useful features -- the full bath on the main level (reported by 87% overall) and the first-floor bedroom (85% overall). Wish they had a chance to read MetLife's Aging in Place 2.0.  

Modifying the home matters, but so does bringing the community inside.  Overall life expectancy for women (age 80) exceeds men’s by 5 years.  Perhaps older women will be like this 91+ year old Canadian marathoner, but maybe not. Even if the home is modified, will church/community, friends, and family still be as accessible? Will the older ranges of the 65+ population, especially women, have access to social networks that link them to the physical community even when they can’t get around as much? Who is educating and boosting interest in transit (including shared car rides) to get from their town house to the town?  And I wonder, how many local churches (et al.) provide online social networking (worshiping in place?) sites that are actively promoted to members as their mobility declines?

The AARP study raises more questions than it answers.  Perhaps builders and remodelers will be excited by the AARP ‘home is where the heart is’ affirmation.  I am not so sure about the future of the older responders represented in this report. I wish AARP had looked at the 42% of responders who reported being separated, widowed, divorced, single or never married, and then reported what percent of those were 65+, owned their own home, and/or were lower income – then look at what percent want to stay in their home because they can’t afford to move. 

Comments

Dear Laurie,

I love the way you are thoughtful and carefully provocative.

I am not very hopeful that this new survey will prompt the builders any more than the previous 4 or 5 surveys with essentially the same result.

I agree completely that homes must be prepared but that the transportation and care systems must connect homes to the community as well. The car analogy holds: a steering wheel is not much use without tires, mechanics, gas stations, roads and traffic signals. We need it all. No one piece is very valuable on it's own.

One other point. I do not think this data says that people will not move. They may move for lifestyle, for climate, social opportunities, recreation or education. I think the surveys say people do not want to be forced to move as a result of a health crisis. No one wants that.

Happy Holidays,

User login

login account