Poll: Most Older Adults Want to Age in Place

Authors urge investing in home improvements to ensure future independence

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FRIDAY, April 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly nine in 10 older adults believe it is important to age in place, but preparedness to do so may be lagging, according to the results of the latest University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.

During January and February 2022, a national sample of older adults (aged 50 to 80 years) was surveyed about their perspectives on aging in place, their homes, and available social supports.

According to the results of the poll, most older adults (88 percent) feel it is important for them to remain in their homes as long as possible as they age. Over half of older adults (53 percent) have given a lot of consideration or some consideration to what modifications their home may need to be able to stay there as they age, while 47 percent report giving little or no consideration. Respondents say the most common accessibility features in their home include a main floor bathroom (88 percent) and bedroom (78 percent), but fewer report door frames wide enough for a wheelchair to pass through (54 percent), lever-style door handles (32 percent), shower chairs or benches (36 percent), home entrances with ramps or no stairs (19 percent), or barrier-free showers (7 percent). More than one-quarter of older adults (28 percent) report living alone, but three-quarters (77 percent) have contact at least once a week with friends, family, or neighbors who do not live with them.

"Family members can help encourage older adults to find out what's available, to invest in home improvements, and to aid them in installing safety devices and technologies that can help keep them aging in place," poll director Preeti Malani, M.D., of the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation in Ann Arbor, said in a statement. "Think of it as a positive investment toward current safety and future independence -- that can help older adults get past the temptation to put it off for another day."

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