I came across a thought-provoking report recently, titled “Technology for Aging in Place 2016,” by Laurie Orlov, a market analyst for aging technology. The report seems to be an update to her 2014 report on aging and technology, which I commented on in this post.
As always, I’m interested in how business people conceive of needs and approaches to solutions, and how that compares to our view of the needs and issues as aging health professionals.
A striking fact which I hadn’t previously appreciated is that many older adults remain in their homes while aging because they can’t afford to move elsewhere. Per Orlov:
Median net worth of the 75+ age range is now $156,000, inclusive of home equity (see Figure 1). This is deferring moves to assisted living – its move-in age now a mid-80’s and frailer demographic. But boomers are right behind them – and even less able to move in. They have simply not saved enough – holding an average retirement savings portfolio of only $136,000 – enough for just two years of a private assisted living community like Brookdale.
Orlov also cites this AoA data summary, which reports that
- About 28% (12.5 million) of noninstitutionalized older persons live alone (8.8 million women, 3.8 million men).
- Almost half of older women (46%) age 75+ live alone.
In short, we have a growing population of older adults, many of whom have limited financial resources, and many of whom live alone in the community.
What percentage of older adults are living in their own homes was unclear to me; Orlov states “Eighty percent of older adults today live in their own homes,” however the reference provided does not address this particular statistic.
To me, “living in your own home” means you own the home. I did find a very good report on aging and housing from Harvard’s Joint Center on Housing Studies, which notes:
Among those aged 80 and older in 2011, fully 60 percent had lived in the same residence for 20 or more years. Another 18 percent had occupied their homes between 10 and 20 years.
However this data is from the American Housing Survey, so presumably it is referring to older adults who are already in community housing, as opposed to all older adults.
The NIA report “Growing Older in America” does provide data on living situations and says 79% of older Americans live in their own homes, however this report is based on Health and Retirement Study data from 2002, and 2002 is starting to feel like a long time ago. Hence, I am still left wondering just where older adults are living, and it would be nice to see updated data addressing this issue.