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The Future of Housing 2, Joanne Jenkins – AARP CEO

by Louis on January 27, 2016

Jo Ann Jenkins also wrote about the AARP conference I attended and blogged about last month. She is the CEO of AARP. Ms Jenkins’ take is in the AARP bulletin. To me, it raises a big question.That big question is pretty easy because it has long been a question for me:

If the desire and problems of Aging in Place are known to 90% of the population…Why does AARP (and so many others- government & not for profits) only work at solutions for those who are poor?

I am not saying our most vulnerable citizens don’t matter or making light of severe and critical problems. But plenty of folks with more resources also have real difficulties aging in the homes they choose with dignity and control. It is not just about money. It is also about the design and condition of their homes and about the availability and coordination of services and care, transportation and isolation.

New home solutions we study are often higher end. Existing homes solutions…to keep people out of expensive nursing homes…. are mostly lower end.

BUT most of the 90% (based on data showing that 70% of those over 50 are not rich OR poor) live in single family homes in neighborhoods throughout America. They don’t want to go to nursing homes either. Another study from the same Harvard Joint Center on Housing Studies cited by Ms Jenkins says, “the bulk of long term care will occur in single family homes, but the homes are not prepared.”

YET, we have almost no programming, planning, piloting or competition to solve the problem for this much larger population, whose own private resources can be leveraged through incentives and where consumers can make pocketbook decisions about what new service ideas work well and which don’t.

The Homes Renewed approach calls for incentives that increase the purchase and installation of products that will create more age friendly homes. Once homes are updated a marketplace will emerge encouraging new and innovative ideas for integrated delivery of in-home services.

It is not either/or. It is Yes, And.

We will not solve the problem for 90% by concentrating on the dire situation of the 18% who are dual eligible for medicare and medicaid. We must also apply our ingenuity and resources to the 70% who are not eligible, not rich but still have needs.

  • Do you know of middle and upper middle income folks who have trouble aging as they wish?
  • Do you think incentives, discounts and information about what to do/how to qualify about what to do will spur activity?
We look forward to your thoughts and support.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Barbara Wells January 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Couldn’t agree with this more . It’s one of the reasons why I am such a strong supporter of the village movement, which tends to get criticized because it is primarily designed for people, who although not rich, have reasonable resources but as you say “still have needs”.


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