We’re getting older, metro Atlanta.

In just 11 years, one in four of us will be over the age of 60.

It’s no surprise that the baby-boomer generation — who brought rock ‘n’ roll to its most soaring height and shepherded the civil rights movement of the 1960s — is not generally keen on aging the way their parents did. Rather than going off to nursing homes, people are increasingly interested in staying in their own homes. And the diverse, accessible neighborhoods that result from building communities that work for all ages and abilities benefit us all.

Here are three things you might not have known about the needs and the benefits of “lifelong communities,” which support people of all ages and abilities.

1: It’s much cheaper than the alternative.

70% of older adults will eventually need help with activities such as eating, bathing, and dressing—and getting that help in-house is just the most cost-effective option out there—both to individuals and to society at large. The annual cost of community-based adult care runs about $16,900, compared to $87,600 a year for nursing home care. In 2013, Medicaid spent about $146 billion on long-care services and supports.

2: There’s a shortage of housing that’s affordable and accessible.

Metro Atlanta’s housing market is experiencing a shortage both in supply and in variety of housing options for older adults. 58% of older metro Atlanta renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing—the textbook definition of unaffordable housing—stretching the bank when it comes to paying for necessities like groceries and medication.

As we age, amenities like ramps, entrances without steps, and wider doorways may become necessary features to accommodate wheelchairs—but only 57% of existing homes have more than one of these universal design features.

3: The demand is out there.

When surveyed, 88% of older people told AARP, “I’d like to stay in my current residence for as long as possible.” And 89% said they’d like to stay in their local community for as long as possible.

Want to learn more? There’s a forum for that.

On August 19, Empowerline is bringing together expert speakers at a half-day summit dedicated to framing why it’s critical to create communities that support people of all ages and abilities — and showcasing solutions taking place in metro Atlanta. Here are the details.

Lifelong Communities—Making the Atlanta Region Age-Friendly
August 19, 2019, 8:30–12:30
Georgia Power, 241 Ralph McGill Blvd NE, Atlanta
FREE

Learn more and register here.

Amenities and infrastructure in Woodstock, Georgia, help make it accessible and enjoyable to people of all ages and abilities.

Sources:

Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey

Metro Atlanta’s Senior Housing Shortage, ARC Policy Briefing, Jan. 2019
https://cdn.atlantaregional.org/wp-content/uploads/arc-policybriefing-rental-housing-2019.pdf

AARP, “Home and Community Preferences of the 45+ Population, 2014,” (September 2014); http://goo.gl/qjCSUT via “Health Aging Begins at Home,” Bipartisan Policy Center https://bipartisanpolicy.org/report/recommendations-for-healthy-aging/