The rise in the older American population will mean an increase in people who can’t get around very easily. By 2035, as many as 17 million older households will have at least one person with a mobility disability.
According to Jennifer Molinsky of the Joint Center’s Housing Perspectives site, accessibility is one of the four major challenges to aging in place that the housing industry will face in the coming years. Zero-step entrances, single-floor living, and wide doorways and hallways will become more common in new homes.
Other issues include affordability, long-term care, and isolation.
Alternative transportation, such as paratransit or car-share services, as well as technology that enables virtual medical appointments and social interaction, will be key. But individuals in these lower density areas, and the organizations and governments that serve them, will need to consider how to expand programs to ensure older adults can access services and remain engaged in their communities.