The Housing Crunch for Older Adults Nears

The 65-plus population is expected to surge from 48 million to 79 million in the next 20 years. Yet, the availability and affordability of housing to meet this blooming population is inadequate, according to a recent Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies report.

The report shows that only 3.5 percent of today’s housing contains the following three key elements of “universal design”: zero-step entrances, single-floor living, and wide halls and doorways. Further, nearly 6.4 million low-income renters will likely need to devote more than 30 percent of their income to housing by 2035, the report notes.

Expect some changes in the way people live as the older population grows. For example, cohabitation and shared housing may grow in popularity as affordability concerns brew. And, expect a growth in mother-in-law suites in single-family residences as well as grandparents living with their families like previous generations once did, Krause says. Furthermore, programs like the Johns Hopkins project, CAPABLE, may expand. The Johns Hopkins program seeks to help people age in place by assigning them a nurse, an occupational therapist, and a handyman.

Source: “Creating Housing That Older Americans Will Need,” Forbes.com (Jan. 24, 2017)