Principle 1 : Equitable Use.
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.Source: NC State University, The Center for Universal Design.
The home is central to individual and community well-being and should support our lives both today and into the future. While the majority of Americans want to live independently in their homes as they age, we expect that by 2030, our nation will face a severe shortage in accessible and affordable housing to meet the needs of the 1 in 5 Americans who will be over the age of 65 in our country.
In our work to address housing for older adults and their families, AARP and AARP Foundation created the Future of Housing Initiative. We are developing strategies to address the senior housing crisis and make all of our communities affordable and welcoming for people regardless of age, background, circumstance, or physical ability.
Explore below to learn more about housing issues and innovative housing solutions.Explore
Donna is a single mother who owns her home in High Bridge, New Jersey. Rose is a young professional renting an apartment in Brooklyn, New York. While in different communities and at stages of life, these women are connected by a common problem affecting individuals of every age: unaffordable housing.
The cost for Donna to remain in the home she bought with her late husband continues to grow each year, but housing alternatives in her area are just as costly. For Rose, rent prices force her to live paycheck to paycheck, limiting opportunities for taking advantage of amenities or saving for the future.
AARP and AARP Foundation – along with Home Matters, Wells Fargo, The Home Depot Foundation, and other partners – held the Re-Defining Home: Home Today, Home Tomorrow Design Challenge to encourage architects and designers to create new standards in housing design so people can age in their own home.
Winning designs were incorporated into an existing home in Memphis, TN. The home includes universal design and visitable features that make the space suitable for people of all ages.
The design challenge also yielded a resource about accessible housing, the Home Today, Home Tomorrow Universal Design Toolkit, for those interested in incorporating universal design features into their own homes. While not all-inclusive of every universal design feature or practice, the Toolkit represents the most interesting features submitted as part of the competition.
The Design Challenge and the subsequent Toolkit were driven by the concept of universal design. As applied to housing, universal design means including features that are integrated into the overall design of a home that make it suitable for anyone regardless of their level of mobility.
AARP collaborated with Ujima Community Transformation Partners, LLC, several local organizations and community members in Philadelphia, PA, to raise awareness about the need to expand accessible housing to support people who want to remain in their homes and communities as they age. Row homes are typical residences found in many urban centers like Philadelphia. Although located in many vibrant neighborhoods with access to services, amenities and social connections, row house design features like steep steps, narrow doors, and multiple levels can present challenges for people with limited mobility.
Currently, less than 1% of homes in the US have five accessible design features: no-step entries, single floor living, extra-wide hallways and doors, accessible electrical controls and switches, and lever-style handles on doors and faucets. Homes with these features allow for ease of movement and better navigation for homeowners and visitors alike.
More than 17 million adults 65 or older spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing.AARP DataExplorer. ACS 2013. Excludes group quarters, households headed by someone younger than 18, and non-cash renters (households that do not own or pay rent).
Over half of adults expect to stay in their current home or community as they get older.2018 Home and Community Preferences: A National Survey of Adults Age 18-Plus, AARP Research.
Less than 1 percent of homes have five accessible design features.Assessing the Accessibility of America’s Housing Stock for Physically Disabled Persons - HUD PD&R.
Sometimes known as accessory apartments, mother-in-law suites or "granny flats," Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) provide more housing options in existing neighborhoods by allowing homeowners to build additional units on their lots.
ADU is a catch-all term for all of these situations — whether the unit is attached to an existing home or placed elsewhere on the property, such as over a detached garage or as a stand-alone structure in the backyard. ADUs are among the housing solutions that can help to ensure that people of all ages, including older adults, have a roof over their heads.
AARP partnered with Blink!Lab to create an ADU design catalog for three different household types. The goal was to create a resource that can guide homeowners through the steps of designing and building an affordable housing unit on their own properties.Download the ADU Design Catalog Download the ADU Design Catalog Flyer Download the ADU Design Catalog Technical Drawings Watch the ADU Design Catalog Video
Featuring tool kits, best practices, free publications, and an award-winning e-newsletter, this AARP website provides information and inspiration for local leaders and communities nationwide.Explore aarp.org/livable >
AARP, in partnership with NORC at the University of Chicago, conducted a national survey of Americans 18 and older. The results show that 3 out of 4 adults age 50 and older want to stay in their homes and communities as they age—yet many don’t see that happening for them.SEE THE FULL SURVEY RESULTS >
The Data Explorer is AARP’s data visualization tool for data on the 50+ population. AARP DataExplorer allows users to select indicators of their choice and easily customize the data.SEE THE LATEST DATA >
The Livability Index scores neighborhoods and communities across the U.S. using seven broad categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity.FIND YOUR COMMUNITY’S SCORE >
The latest in research and insights on about homes, neighborhoods and cities from AARP.READ THE LATEST LIVABLE COMMUNITY BLOGS >
See fact sheets, one-pagers, infographics, and other PPI publications on the latest in housing policy and research.EXPLORE PPI HOUSING PUBLICATIONS >