Senior Housing Crisis

Needed: More well-designed homes for older adults. The over-whelming need is for housing to be designed for older Americans who need to live in places where car travel is not a necessity. For the skyrocketing population aged 65 and over, there is a tremendous increase in the need for affordable and safe housing that is well connected to services. The current supply is not meeting the need. Some naturally occurring retirement communities are found in dense and vibrant cities and demonstrates how well the cities can work for older people. But, less than a quarter of older people live in those high-density areas; a demand for new housing options within existing suburbs and rural communities is increasing. Thoughtfully designed housing is not being created for the moderate income elders on a scale commensurate with the growing need because it is not a market many architects or developers have embraced. Attention has been focused on the lowest and the highest ends of the economic spectrum, those who can afford luxury options and those who qualify for aid. The middle class has limited good options. On the other hand, a disproportionate amount of attention has been focused on the presumed desires of millennials who crave walkability, good transit and everything at their doorstep – to be provided in the cities. Possibly these same ideas could translate into suburban housing communities for seniors. Another thought – what about multiple generations being served by innovative housing options and not just “seniors” or “millennials.” Possibly co-housing could embrace floor plans accommodating varieties of housing needs and/or family units to be served. Instead of adapting existing residences, communities could be developed to provide needed accommodations, whether for elderly or handicapped or multi-generational living. Thinking outside of the box is needed today in the architectural and real estate industries to relieve the housing crisis. From: The New York Times, 1/29/17.

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