A funny thing happened on the way to the long-trumpeted triumph of the city: the suburbs not only survived but have begun to regain their allure as Americans have continued aspiring to single-family homes.
~Joel Kotkin The Daily Beast
Aging in Place/Suburbs
The overwhelming majority of older adults prefer aging in place and remain in their current homes or communities. Most seniors are already aging in place in traditional communities. These communities were built for GIs returning home from WWII with young families. The communities were built largely to accommodate these growing families: Detached single family houses; large lots; cheap land; accessible by highways; isolated from commerce and traffic.
The First Suburban Generation
The young children of the WWII generation who grew up in suburbia are now as of January, 1st 2011 turning 65 at a clip of 10,000/day; and will do so for the next 16+ years! And the majority of this demographic transition will occur in the burbs. In fact, 83% of baby boomers live in either small towns, rural areas, or suburbia.
What was once favored for its “get-away” location from big city metropolis and hassles, now has the potential to be a disaster for aging boomers. The suburbs have been termed “the architecture of isolation” by age-friendly city planners for the very same reasons they were appealing to young GIs raising families.
Up front is the location—it’s auto-dependent, next is the built environment—its youth dependent. Both conditions are BIG problems off-shore brewing for aging boomers who are staying put.
Women, Aging, and Challenges
It’s fitting that the nation’s first baby boomer is Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, born just a second after midnight on New Year’s Day 1946 gave her a title: The country’s first baby boomer. Fitting because, although men do get old—women get older…and boomers aging in place in suburbia is mainly a women’s issue for longevity reasons.
Women’s longevity has its challenges:
- More likely to be alone in old age
- 65+ Poverty rates 2Xs higher than males
- Living longer with chronic diseases at 2.5Xs the rates of Males
- Lack of informal caregivers
- Aging in Suburbia = The Architecture of Isolation
- Economics of being Female (in/out workforce w/family) = Lower Retirement Savings
Don’t Have to Go it Alone
According to AARP, four million women 50+ live in households with at least 2 females 50+ and are house-sharing to meet the challenges of aging in suburbia.
Golden Girls Network: Boomer Housemates have more Fun!