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Overview of Aging in Place

There are various definitions of aging in place, but it generally refers to the phenomena of older adults remaining in their homes and communities as they age, rather than relocating or moving into an institutional setting. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as:

“the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

Nearly 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, and respecting their aging in place preference is an important way to support them. Aging in place promotes life satisfaction, a positive quality of life, and self-esteem—all of which are needed to remain happy, healthy, and well into old age. In fact, the World Health Organization recognizes that when a community provides older adults opportunities to remain active in civic and social life, it can improve their overall well-being and quality of life.

When aging in place is supported, the entire community benefits. Beyond the health and wellness benefits of aging in place for older adults, community members can benefit from the wisdom that older adults can share from their life experiences. Older adults tend to volunteer more than any other age group and supporting them in doing so, and in remaining active in their community, will help people of all ages.

Resources to Learn More

Aging in Place: A Toolkit for Local Governments
Document
Provides an overview of aging in place and different program models that local governments can use to address older adults' needs in the community, related to healthcare, the environment, and community planning.
Author(s): Ball, M.
Organization(s): Atlanta Regional Commission, Community Housing Resource Center

Survey: What Makes a Community Livable?
Document
Results from a survey in which AARP asked people ages 50 and older about the communities they live in now and what features they hope will exist in whatever community they may reside in as they get older.
Organization(s): AARP
Date: 4/2014