By 2030 the elder population is projected to outnumber children. Along with this demographic shift is a growing inequality within the country’s aging population in achieving housing stability and financial security.
By 2030 the elder population is projected to outnumber children. Along with this demographic shift is a growing inequality between higher- and lower-earners within the country’s aging population in achieving housing stability and financial security. Given these challenges, recent studies and convenings have focused on the goal of aging in place – remaining in the homes and neighborhoods the elderly have known for some time. This goal, however, challenges practitioners and policymakers to promote accessible housing design, greater transportation options, and investments in services that will allow the aging population to not only live, but thrive alongside other residents.
Think tanks and foundations appear increasingly engaged in research and advocacy on this topic of aging in place. In their recent report, Age-Forward Cities for 2030, The Milken Institute is challenging cities across the country to move the aging population to the top of their policy agendas, as a way of promoting the vitality and sustainability of cities. Longstanding advocates like AARP have produced reports, such as their rent survey, which documents a preference for aging in place in both urban and rural settings, and highlights local solutions to advance this goal.
Community development practitioners play an integral role in supporting the aging population and promoting more equitable outcomes. Building accessible housing, conducting green retrofitting or sparking the construction of accessory dwelling units are some strategies they employ. Other actions include advocacy and systems change efforts. As neighborhoods change, practitioners can expand partnerships with advocates for the elderly, to ensure greater investment in projects that will both advance the needs of the aging community and promote equity related to race, class and culture for an entire community. Given disparities faced by elders of color, and also differences between urban and rural areas, equity should be central to program and planning decisions.
In this Spotlight on Aging in Place, we’ve compiled research, stories and resource guides to help community development practitioners around the topic of aging in place. You can learn about the racial and gender disparities in caregiver access in this report by PHI and article by City Limits. We’re also highlighting a reflective Q&A compiled by SAGE on Social Justice and Equity in Aging this blog post. You will also find archived resources and webinars from National Council on Aging on topics ranging from health (mental, socioemotional and physical), to policy briefings and area-specific RFP’s for innovative place-based strategies.