The Aging of the Baby Boomers
Housing Seniors in the Delaware Valley

The Aging of the Baby Boomers

Product No.: 07003
Date Published: 01/2007

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The number of elderly residents has increased dramatically throughout the nation and the region in recent years, and is expected to continue to increase at a record pace. DVRPC's Getting Older and Getting Around (report #99015) considered accessibility and mobility needs of the region's elderly. The Aging of the Baby Boomers: Housing Seniors in the Delaware Valley extends that work by considering issues related to housing for the elderly, as a means of offering guidance to county and municipal officials faced with a growing suburban elderly population. The report's first chapter presents a national demographic profile of the elderly, followed by an annotated account of the federal study "A Quiet Crisis in America". This discussion of the issue at the national level sets the stage for a review of the Delaware Valley region's elderly demographics. The report also includes a discussion of available alternatives to 'aging in place" as well as a listing of agencies currently working to provide services to seniors. The Aging of the Baby Boomers presents several recommendations for expanding housing options and creating communities where residents can successfully 'age in place". To expand the stock of accessible, affordable housing options for seniors, the study recommends that municipal officials revise their plans and zoning codes to allow a variety of housing types, increased densities, and an integration of land uses. To preserve the existing housing stock, assistance should be available to elderly homeowners for rehabilitation as well as home modifications to improve accessibility. Providing property tax relief and energy assistance programs to elderly homeowners would improve housing affordability. Local officials should also strive to make their communities more 'elder-friendly", by expanding transit and paratransit services and by enhancing and securing the pedestrian environment. Finally, policies geared toward protecting the rights and enhancing the quality of life of the region's elderly, including suburban baby boomers who want to age in place, should be promoted. Funding for agencies that provide services to the elderly should be expanded; healthcare and supportive services should be coordinated with housing services; and concentrations of elderly residents and near-elderly residents should be identified and resources targeted to those areas.

Geographic Area Covered: Nine county Delaware Valley region, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania and Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Mercer counties in New Jersey

Key Words: elderly, near-elderly, aging in place, baby boomers, NORCs, accessory dwelling units, elder cottages

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