Thursday, November 07, 2019

Housing Problems Loom for Older Americans

Entrepreneurs take note. Over the next two decades, prepare for explosive growth in the number of households headed by people aged 65 or older. According to projections by the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS), the number of householders aged 65 or older will expand by 53 percent between 2018 and 2038. The number aged 80 or older will more than double. By 2038, more than one-third (34 percent) of the nation's households will be headed by people aged 65 or older and one in eight (12 percent) will be headed by people aged 80 or older.

The rapid growth in the number of older householders creates problems and opportunities. The problem is that too many older Americans live in housing unsuited to the needs of the aged, according to the JCHS report, Housing America's Older Adults 2019. Fully 80 percent of homeowners aged 65 or older, live in detached, single-family homes. "The majority of these homes are now at least 40 years old and therefore may present maintenance challenges for their owners," says the report.

And that's not all. Many older householders live in low-density communities, making it difficult for them to care for themselves as they age. "The growing concentration of older households in outlying communities presents major challenges for residents and service providers alike," the report warns. "Single family homes make up most of the housing stock in low-density areas, and residents typically need to be able to drive to do errands, see doctors, and socialize."

But problems like these create opportunities. "The need for affordable, accessible housing and in-home supportive services is set to soar," concludes the report.

Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, Housing America's Older Adults 2019

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