New Approaches to Housing for Elderly
Growing Efforts by private builders, public bodies, and voluntary non-profit associations to provide improved housing for the aging and the aged are beginning to bear fruit in many parts of the country. The new types of housing are physically designed to meet the special needs of the elderly, and projects are sufficiently varied to cater to different tastes and requirements. The whole purpose is to foster a more satisfying mode of living than has been available in the past to most men and women of advanced years.
The new housing accommodations range from small, easy-to-keep cottages and apartments in “retirement villages” to low-rate residential hotels in downtown sections of large cities. For old persons who can no longer live independently, or who prefer to reside with others, there are modern institutions that bear more resemblance to resort establishments than to old-fashioned homes for the aged. Living quarters of these kinds still are relatively scarce, but their number is steadily increasing and the way is opening to provide them in greater abundance.
Until fairly recently, little thought was given to the living requirements of able-bodied old people with some financial resources. The needs of the infirm and the destitute were met to a degree by public authorities or charitable groups, but measures to better the living conditions of other elderly persons were hardly considered. Today interest has broadened to take in the needs of those who perhaps can no longer work regularly but who are not incapacitated, who enjoy participating in many activities of a normal life, and who—thanks in part to social security benefits and retirement allowances—are able to pay their own way on a modest scale. Emphasis now centers (1) on providing types of private housing that will postpone as long as possible the need to seek a more sheltered environment; and (2) on establishing group living arrangements that will enable even the infirm to live a life approaching the normal in close association with the non-institutional world.