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  • Writer's pictureNancy Griffin

National Poll on Healthy Aging Finds Older Adults Not Prepared to Age in Place

88% of respondents believe it's important to age in place, yet 47% have not considered modifications needed to remain at home.

Over January and February, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging asked a national sample of adults age 50–80 about their perspectives on aging in place. Defined as living independently, safely, and comfortably in one’s home for as long as possible, “Aging in place” was important goal for the the vast majority of respondents. Without home modifications and additional support from others, however, unexpected medical events and declines in health can make it nearly impossible.

Here are some highlights with important implications for senior living and age-tech companies:

  • The majority of adults age 50–80 (88%) felt it is important to remain in their homes for as long as possible (62% very important, 26% somewhat important).

  • More than one in four older adults (28%) reported living alone.

  • One in seven older adults (15%) said they have given a lot of consideration to what modifications their home may need to be able to stay there as they age--21% have given no consideration.

  • Half of older adults (49%) reported having at least one smart home device, i.e., technology that uses Wi-Fi and sensors to allow for communication between devices, remote monitoring, or voice control. The most common smart technologies reported included voice-controlled assistive devices (e.g., Echo, iHome, etc.) (21%), smart thermostats (18%), and doorbell cameras (16%).

  • One in three adults age 50–80 (34%) said their home definitely has the necessary features that would allow them to age in place, 47% said it probably does, and 19% said it does not.

  • About half (54%) had door frames in their homes wide enough for a wheelchair to pass through, 32% had lever-style door handles, and 19% had home entrances with ramps or no stairs. Bathroom features included shower chairs or benches (36%), raised-height toilet seats (36%), or grab bars (32%), while 7% reported having barrier-free showers.

  • One in five adults age 50–80 (19%) said they were very confident they could afford to pay for help with household chores, grocery shopping, personal care, and managing finances, 38% were somewhat confident, 27% were not very confident, and 16% were not at all confident.

These findings suggest significant opportunities for the senior living and age-tech industries to provide home modification, social, and support services.


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