The number of seniors (aged 65 and over) is growing much faster than the number of non-seniors, and the population is expected to more than double by 2036i.
This aging population has created new challenges for housing and related services. For-profit and non-profit housing sectors are responding to these changing needs with innovative solutions. Policy makers at all levels of government are paying more attention to seniors and to the need for age-friendly housing policies and community planning. These responses are resulting in increasing seniors’ quality-of-life and helping them maintain their independence and social participation.
Aging in Place
A large majority of seniors are choosing to ‘age in place’; that is, to continue to live in their current home and familiar community for as long as possible even if their health changes.
A number of approaches could further enable seniors to remain in their homes without needed services or sacrificing safety:
- Home modifications
Accommodating disabilities making modifications in the home will allow them to live in their homes longer.
Using technology to improve the quality of life of the aging population.
- Alternative housing approaches
Options include house sharing, cohousing and the coordination of housing and support services.
- Coordination of housing and support services
Support services that many seniors require are: meal preparation, transportation, laundry, housekeeping, medication assistance, personal grooming and organization of social and recreational activities.
- Age-friendly planning and development
A community that is physically supportive and responsive to seniors’ needs.
• Neighbourhood walkability
• The availability of transportation options that meet the needs of residents who do not drive
• Access to services that seniors need
• The availability of different housing options
• Safety, and
• Opportunities to engage in social and civic activities.