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New York Times article on Aging in Place

by Louis on August 16, 2007

The August 14, 2007 News York Times front page story on village communities for older residents is a strong indicator that Aging in Place is becoming current. It is also a good opportunity for me to start this blog I have been planning for the past few months.

Why is Aging in Place so important? There are two big categories of reasons.
The first is that we are mostly unsatisfied with available senior housing. Sure, senior housing options have expanded in recent years to serve niche needs but none of it is really satisfactory. The Times article points this out with AARP’s oft referenced study showing that over 80% of those over 45 years old want to remain in their own home as long as possible, even when they need assistance. (These Four Walls )

So that big category can be summarized by saying available senior housing options are not good, do not work and are not what people want.

The second big category of reasons that Aging in Place is important is because our medical, caregiving and financing system is broken and the situation will grow much worse as the number of older folks grows in the near future. Notice I say older folks because we are not yet talking about boomers. When we boomers come along the situation will be even worse than the disaster we face soon.

Further summary: the available housing options are bad and undesirable. The medical, caregiving and financing system that supports older citizens is not just broken it is about to become a crisis and we are not prepared.

Better alternatives are needed and one is called Aging in Place. How and why does Aging in Place fill the gaps? That is the overall subject of this blog. Aging in Place is a more desirable form of housing and care that makes much better use of financial, medical and human resources. See, my definition says Aging in Place solves the problems. I do not expect readers to just take my word for it. There is still plenty of evidence to gather, still plenty of systems to work out, infrastructure to build and financing to arrange. Some details, many questions will unfold over future posts.

In the meantime I want to comment on some key points in the Times article. One is the word community. Aging in Place is about preserving communities that people love and in which they want to remain. Aging in Place is a benefit to the individuals and to the community that is strengthened by the services that begin to work in it, by the new commitment the older residents are able to make and the continued support of the institutions that have been there for years. Because Aging in Place is more economical it is good for the whole country.

Another important point from the Times article is the grass roots nature of the village concept. It is wonderful but not critical that the original Beacon Hill Village in Boston project started from resident leaders. It is critical that Aging in Place recognizes the value inherent in older residents. We are all interconnected by networks of various types and scales. We always have been. (Have you milked a cow for your coffee cream lately?) We must recognize the economic and social assets of our older residents to taking advantage of their contributions and provide the dignity and respect every citizen deserves. These points are key to Aging in Place.

So now the Aging in Place Guide blog is started. Some subtopics I plan to cover include Universal Design, Home Modifications, Social Marketing, Caregiving and Independent Living Strategy. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you and growing my ideas from your feedback.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

hctannerjr December 21, 2008 at 4:44 pm


I don’t know how to start to thank you for your Blog site.

I started a Home Modifications company a year ago. I am a CAPS certified GC. I have a website that tells my story(my mother and why I started this business). But not until I read all about you and your career on Aging in Place, Independent Living Strategies did I also love the work and not the revenue that I get from helping people to Age in Place, with barrier free (Universal Design features).

I wish I could be just like you, in my business and my life. You are my hero! Please keep it up!
Thanks so much,
Chuck Tanner


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