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Housing » Accessibility

Why It's Important


Some older adults do not have the accessible home features they need to live safely and comfortably on their own. Demand for accessibility improvements is likely to increase in the future as older, very frail persons become a larger share of the senior population. In contrast to altering existing homes, another way to ensure accessible housing is to incorporate accessible design features into new homes as they are built. In the Older Americans Act, Congress has declared that older people are entitled to equal opportunity to obtain and maintain suitable housing, independently selected, designed and located with reference to their special needs and available at costs they can afford.

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How Virginia Is Doing

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How the U.S. Is Doing

In a report released by the AARP in 2008:

  • Accessible housing should include zero-step entrances, thirty-two inch wide doorways, and first-floor half-bathrooms.
  • Although the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) supports voluntary measures to encourage accessible designs, accessible homes are more likely to be built under mandatory legislation.
  • is typically inexpensive to integrate in the design phase, and many communities have flexible requirements.
  • Approximately 2v2 million persons ages 65 and older reported having physical difficulties in 2006. Of that number, about 14 million persons reported having difficulties walking a quarter of a mile and 11.5 million reported difficulty climbing ten steps without resting.

(AARP PPI, Increasing Home Access: Designing for Visitability, 2008)

According to Houser:

  • 4.6 million ( 13 percent) of the older population had difficulty with at least one daily activity.

(AARP PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE, NATIONAL HEALTH INTERVIEW SURVEY, 2005)

 

According to Smith, Rayer and Smith

  • 25% of new houses built today at some point will have a resident with severe long-term mobility impairment.

(SMITH, RAYER AND SMITH, 2008 AGING AND DISABILITY: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE HOUSING INDUSTRY AND PUBLIC POLICY IN THE UNITED STATES. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN PLANNING ASSOCIATION)

 

According to a recent survey taken by the National Association of Home Builders in a report entitled, Single Family Accessibility or Visitability:

  • The NAHB surveyed remodeling companies in 2007, 72% of the respondents reported modifying homes for aging-in-place needs, up from 60% in 2006. In additions, 75% of remodelers noted an increasing number of requests for aging-in-place features over the past five years.

(NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOME BUILDERS, SINGLE FAMILY
ACCESSIBILITY OR VISITABILITY, 2007)

 

According to Hammel:

  • More than one-third of older adults reported feeling concerned about being forced into a nursing home as a result of barriers in their home. They also said they found it difficult to find and afford help to modify their homes to meet the needs.

(UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, THE IMPACT OF HOME MODIFICATION SERVICES ON COMMUNITY LIVING AND PARTICIPATION OUTCOMES
FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE AGING WITH DISABILITES, 2005)

Data Sources

AARP PPI, Increasing Home Access: Designing for Visitability, 2008
http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/inb163_access.pdf

Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics
http://www.agingstats.gov/agingstatsdotnet/main_site/default.aspx

Hammel, J., L. Fogg, J. Sanford, D. Walens, J.G. Dahl, A.Gossett, K.Pietraszk, and K. Jopa, The Impact of Home Modification Services on Community Living and Participation Outcomes For People Who Are Ageing with Disabilities: Final Report. RRF Grant #2001-328. Chicago, Ill.: University of Illinois at Chicago, 2005
http://jrm.medicaljournals.se/files/pdf/40/4/914.pdf

Houser, A. 2007. Long-Term Care. Washington, D.C.: AARP Public Policy Institute.
http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/fs27r_ltc.pdf

National Association of Home Builders, Policy Single Family Accessibility or Visitability, 2007

http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=37885&print=true

Older Americans Act

http://www.areaagency8.org/ooact%201965.htm

Smith, S.K., S. Rayer, and E. A. Smith. 2008 Aging and Disability: Implications for the Housing Industry and Public Policy in the United States. Journal of the American Planning Association 74 (3): 1-18 http://www.bebr.ufl.edu/system/files/Aging_Disability_0.pdf

U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey

http://www.census.gov/acs/www/