Aging in Place -- A Graceful Living Option for Seniors
September 22, 2010
The swelling ranks of Americans age 65 and older -- a figure expected to more than double to 89 million by 2050 -- has inspired communities and companies to find innovative ways to help older Americans work longer, and age gracefully and affordably in their homes. The small but fast-growing "village" movement -- where seniors help seniors to coordinate and deliver services within their communities -- is a grassroots response to the well-documented preference of older people to remain in their homes as they age, says the Fiscal Times.
There are many different models for this approach, but one of the most venerable is Boston's Beacon Hill Village, which was created by a group of long-time residents in 2001. Now there are more than 50 such villages nationwide and more than 600 in development. Experts believe some type of village model could help fill the growing need for affordable housing and services for our rapidly aging population, says the Times.
- Consider this: The median monthly cost for nursing home care in 2009 was $5,243 -- more than five times than for seniors living at home, according a study published in the 2010 issue of Health Affairs.
- With the need for long-term care expected to double between 2000 and 2040, these models can postpone the need for institutional care and cut significant costs for individuals as well as government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
- Businesses, too, are stepping up to confront the parallel challenge of a rapidly aging population: how to support workers juggling fulltime jobs with their duties as caretakers of elderly relatives.
- According to a study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, an estimated 21 percent of all U.S. households are providing care for an adult family member.
Increasingly, employers see the toll that takes on their own employees' health and productivity. The MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Care Costs reports that workers caring for an older relative are more likely to report health problems like depression, diabetes, hypertension or heart disease -- costing employers $13.4 billion annually, says the Times.
Source: Barbara Bedway, "Aging in Place -- A Graceful Living Option for Seniors," Fiscal Times, September 19, 2010.
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