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Finding Solutions for Older Adults to Age in Grace


Urban planners are creating innovative, age-friendly, community-centered housing to address the anticipated surge in older adults. Examples include intergenerational communities like Bridge Meadows and pocket neighborhoods like Kallimos Communities. Still, zoning laws and building codes often hinder such developments.


In an article by Patrck Sisson for the American Planning Association, he shares that by considering the needs of a burgeoning senior population, planners can promote creative and community-focused housing options.


When today's older adults think about how to spend their golden years, the picture they paint is more active and energetic than previous generations. Building new housing to accommodate these more engaged, community-focused older adults often requires forethought and energy on the part of builders.


Examples of this new take on senior living can be found across America — from Oregon to Illinois. And in Loveland, Colorado, efforts are underway to build a pocket neighborhood called Kallimos Communities, envisioned as a small, walkable, multigenerational village. It's currently clouded by knotty regulations, overlapping agency involvement, and planning challenges. After more than a year of proposals and negotiation, the project is making progress — but construction hasn't started.


"It's outside the box, and we don't fit inside the box, so we're working with a lot of entities to create a new box," says Megan Marama, chief operating officer of Kallimos. The company plans to submit a final plan in early 2024 and hopes to use that momentum to push through the design and development processes.


More of these types of projects need to break ground — and fast.

A severe shortage of affordable and accessible housing for America's oldest adults, exacerbated by the same kinds of zoning and building code challenges hampering overall housing supply, is getting worse as the nation's senior population rapidly expands. Urban planners will need to use creative solutions and new approaches to planning and zoning to prioritize the creation of new, age-friendly housing in communities.


"Frankly, planners and many others have been able to get by for years by not necessarily focusing on aging needs, because there has been a relatively small percentage of older adults in the overall population," says Rodney Harrell, vice president of family, home, and community for AARP's Public Policy Institute. "That's going to change when well over 20 percent of the population will soon be over 65."


The coming crash of the 'silver tsunami'

The nation's overall housing supply already faces a severe shortage and challenges, according to the report America's Rental Housing 2024 by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS), as the number of renter households spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities has reached a new high of 22.4 million, while the median age of renters is now 44.


There's a significant shortage of affordable, accessible, and age-friendly housing for the nation's senior population, which is set to rapidly expand in a demographic shift being called the "silver tsunami." The number of Americans aged 65 and older in the U.S. has soared by over 34 percent in the last decade, while the country's housing supply hasn't kept pace.


The problem will only be exacerbated, (To continue, click here)




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