Florida Real Estate News –
Residents of 10 large North American cities don’t want to move after age 80 – but most also say that big cities need more options for senior health care.
The survey showed that 7 out of 10 urbanites still want to live in their city after the age of 80. For Boomers, the share was higher, at 8 out of 10. The result was fairly uniform across the cities. Though some residents ranked their metropolises higher for livability for older residents—Washington, D.C., Miami, and Chicago got the highest marks, while Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City received the lowest—all respondents were still largely interested in staying and complimentary of their respective cities.
All generations had the same top concern for their older selves: access to high-quality health care. For 61 percent, having a good doctor was the highest priority, in contrast to the 21 percent who cited proximity to health care facilities. Baby Boomers and Millennials also shared other top concerns, namely good public transportation and proximity to family (Millennials ranked family higher than Boomers). Respondents across the board appear to have a surprisingly large amount of faith in their city’s transit: 84 percent said it’s well equipped for the elderly.
As CityLab reported earlier this year, this presents numerous challenges, especially for those who want to age in place. Only 1 percent of our housing stock is currently equipped with “universal design” elements that aid older residents, like no-step entrances, single-floor living, and wide halls and doorways. And more older adults also means more lower-income adults, who will struggle to afford the rent or mortgage, let alone modify their living space or employ in-home nursing care.
Harrell recommends that cities join formal programs to help them better prepare for the coming demographic shift, such as AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities. Currently 188 U.S. cities have signed up, meaning their elected officials have made a commitment to assess their community’s needs, make plans for change, and then implement those plans.
Harrell also points to efforts in Philadelphia to provide affordable and welcoming housing for LGBTQ older adults. In 2014, the city built the six-story, 56-unit John C. Anderson Apartments, which caters to the low-income LGBTQ community. State and federal funds, as well as federal tax credits, financed the building. Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities are also spearheading such housing—and more is needed. Research indicates that the number of LGBTQ elders will reach three million by 2030—double what it is now. SAGE, an advocacy organization for LGBTQ elders, recently launched a national initiative focused on housing needs, including a map listing resources in every state.
“These initiatives are about making sure that urban residents of all ages have options that will meet their needs,” says Harrell. “They really take thoughtful planning and policymaking.”