‘Aging-in-Place’ Trend Likely to Stay Strong, Survey Suggests

by bkrigbaum@solagroup.com

WASHINGTON, DC — Baby Boomers are generally happy where they live, like what their communities offer, enjoy being near friends and family, and appreciate access to shopping, social opportunities and healthcare.

And, according to a new nationwide survey, most adults ages 45 and older plan to stay in their current homes and communities for as long as possible, suggesting that the market for aging-in-place residential remodeling is likely to remain strong.

The survey, whose results were released late in 2010, was conducted mid-year by the AARP. It revealed that more than eight in 10 Boomers ages 45 and older – and effectively nine in ten people 65+ – report they want to stay in their current homes for as long as possible.

Aspects of one’s community continue to be the primary motivation for aging in place as one ages, reflected in the two-thirds of survey respondents who agreed that they want to stay in their home because they like what their community has to offer.

When asked about seven different community aspects and the level of importance they have for them, two-thirds of respondents said that being near friends and/or family and being near where one wants to go (i.e., grocery stores, doctors’ offices, the library) is extremely or very important to them. Roughly half noted that being near church or social organizations or being somewhere where it’s easy to walk are extremely or very important to them, while somewhat fewer said the same thing about being near good schools or being near work.

According to Elinor Ginzler, AARP senior v.p. for Livable Communities, most Boomers already have a few basic elements in their homes that can help the homes age gracefully with their occupants. For example, eight in 10 Boomers, and almost nine in 10 Americans over 65, currently reside in homes with two of the key elements of comfortable living at any age or ability: Eighty-two percent have a full bath on the main level of their home and 81% have a bedroom or a room on the main floor that could become a bedroom if they were injured or wanted to downsize from multi-floor living.

“Far too often a person has to break a leg or contract a serious illness to discover that the home they love could restrict their comfortable lifestyle,” Ginzler said. “A few tweaks to key rooms and entrances when boomers and empty nesters are already remodeling can make a standard home more user-friendly for anyone at any age or ability.”

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