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Independent Living: Aging in Place Communities

What are aging in place communities?

Aging in place communities are locations intended to improve the quality of life for an older adult who wishes to remain in his or her own home for as long as possible. Roper Public Affairs & Media Group reports that “more than four in five (84%) persons age 50 and older strongly or somewhat agree that they would like to remain in their current residence for as long as possible.” For that livability to be a reality, however, there are factors and considerations that need to be taken into account.

Transportation factors of aging in place communities

Transport for seniors in aging in place communities is important. Many urban areas have a variety of transportation options, but individuals with health impairments or disabilities often have difficulty using fixed-route transit systems. Factors such as poor pedestrian accessibility or the lack of accessible design features at buses and rail stations can become an issue. Providing a regular transportation system, one that is not dependent on the local public transportation system that might not accommodate seniors, greatly enhances any aging in place community.

Home remodeling considerations of aging in place communities

The next consideration when it comes to aging in place is the ability of the home itself to meet the changing needs of the senior. The government's Administration on Aging estimates that 60% of elderly Americans live in homes that are 20 years old or older.  This means that some home remodeling might be required to ensure their livability for seniors such as:

  • Shower and tub grab bars and shower chairs and bath benches
  • Replacing turning faucets or doorknobs with lever handles
  • Ramps for access into the home
  • Installing a lift to assist with moving a person from the bed to wheelchair or bath
  • Installing central air for heating and cooling

Home modifications can cost less than a hundred dollars to install a grab bar to thousands of dollars to install a lift. It simply depends on the situation that best suits the senior.

Financial resources for aging in place seniors

According to the Congressional Budget Office, only one-third of the public funds spent on long-term care for seniors pays for help at home. Most government expenditures pay for nursing home care, so that means that people interested in aging in place, especially those already in retirement, need to look into additional funding sources.

One such source is using tax deductions. The Congressional Budget Office says, “The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) allows a taxpayer (or his or her dependent) who incurs such expenses and has a specified degree of physical or cognitive impairment to deduct them from taxable income along with other medical and dental costs. Qualifying expenses include nursing home care; home-based care; medical equipment and supplies, such as oxygen; and alterations to a home, such as grab bars in the bathroom. However, only the portion of the alterations that does not add to the market value of the home is eligible for the deduction.”

So although HIPAA won’t cover a total renovation from top to bottom, it can provide some needed financial support for necessities that aren’t extravagant in nature.

 



  • Only one-third of the public funds spent on long-term care for seniors pays for help at home. (Source: Congressional Budget Office)
  • More than 60% of older persons live in homes that are more than 20 years old; and older homes often need repairs and modifications. (Source: Administration on Aging)
  • More than four in five (84%) persons age 50 would like to remain in their current residence for as long as possible. (Source: Roper Public Affairs & Media Group)