Last week we wrote about our nation’s senior housing crisis — one out of six people over the age of 65 living below the federally established poverty line, and the waiting list for subsidized housing in our own backyard and across the country ranging from 12 to 24 months. Today, we’ll look at some possible solutions.
• Aging in place: Instead of moving to senior housing, an elderly individual’s current residence is adapted so that it can be used safely for a much longer period of time. In some cases, this might be as easy as turning a first-floor half bath into a full bath and/or relocating the laundry facility to a more accessible place in the home.
• Block grant money: Public policy needs to be modified so that community block grant money and deferred loans can be diverted into projects that allow low-income homeowners to retrofit their homes to live there safely and in comfort.
• Shared housing. A shared housing center pre-screens and matches people within the community who can share expenses and household duties.
• Embrace the village concept. Senior “villages” decrease isolation and allow seniors to maximize their resources by sharing services such as transportation.
The problem in America is complex and grows greater on a daily basis, but it’s obvious that change is definitely needed … and soon! Let’s hope our leaders are paying attention.