The availability and cost of seniors’ housing have led many older adults to continue to age in place in their homes. But with financial and physical restrictions, some seniors have difficulty maintaining their homes or making the changes that would help improve mobility, safety and accessibility. A New York area Habitat for Humanity chapter has recently responded to the growing needs of community-dwelling seniors with an Aging in Place (AIP) program to help support older adults by identifying modifications that will improve safety, health, mobility, and independence while optimizing energy efficiency to save money.
According to a recent Hudson Independent report, Westchester County Habitat for Humanity received a $500,000 endowment to help provide seniors with the resources they need to remain safely in their homes. After an initial assessment, services might include grab bars/handrails installation, light switch and door knob replacement, lighting and trip prevention modifications, and accessibility improvements for homeowners with vision or hearing impairment. As needed, AIP staff would make referrals to local agencies or non-profit services that support older adults.
The program will serve homeowners over the age of 62 whose income is 80 percent less than the area median income and who demonstrate a critical housing need. As the program grows, Habitat plans to expand its services to include the installation of entry ramps, stair lifts, bathroom remodelling and other modifications or repairs for seniors in their homes. Roof repairs, window and door upgrades, and HVAC repairs or replacements will be carried out with contractor partnerships to improve energy efficiency and weatherproofing.
Aging in Place programs through Habitat for Humanity are being implemented in communities across the United States to help older adults maintain and improve their homes for safety and a better quality of life. By 2030, 20 percent of Americans will be 65 and older, yet more than 19 million seniors live in homes that are in disrepair or present a safety hazard for older adults. By helping provide safe and stable housing for older adults, seniors will feel secure, engage with friends and family more, and have improved mental and physical health. The Housing Plus model helps assess the needs of older adults and find solutions that include not only home repairs and modifications, but also community resources to meet their needs, such as help with shopping, bills, food or cleaning. Learn more by following this link to the Habitat for Humanity website.