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Age in Place

Esther Ilana Rabi

Every day in America, between eight and ten thousand people celebrate their 65th birthday. The vast majority of them desperately want to continue living in their own home until the end of their lives. How can we actualize this dream?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In the last six years alone, the number of Americans over age 65 ballooned from 39.6 million to 47.9 million. By 2040, it’s predicted, there will be 80 million senior citizens, partly because the average life expectancy has risen. Thanks to medical advances and readily accessible health care, the quality of life for elders has improved, too — seniors are increasingly living largely free of disease and disability until shortly before death. Considering these stats, it’s not surprising that there’s a growing trend to “age in place” — at home or with one’s children — versus moving into a nursing home. So popular is this movement that a $30-billion-a-year industry has burgeoned to make aging in place possible, consisting of Certified Aging in Place Specialists, Senior Real Estate Specialists, home remodeling contractors, health care professionals, home care providers, architects, designers, gerontological occupational therapists, physical therapists, health monitors, and others. The trend makes sense emotionally — older people living independently have more positive self-esteem than those who are institutionalized. It’s also economically smart; supporting a resident in a nursing home costs five times more than maintaining a senior in her own home.

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