A recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center describes the need for a comprehensive national approach to integrating health care and housing for seniors. To counteract the increasing number of vulnerable Americans experiencing hardship as they age, the report makes the following recommendations:
- Build more affordable housing for seniors;
- Enable more seniors to age in place;
- Better integrate senior health care and housing; and
- Embrace technology to support successful aging.
To address the lack of affordable housing available for seniors, the Center recommends significantly expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and creating a new federal program that uses project-based rental assistance and the housing credit to finance new construction and attract funding for health care programs.
Among seniors surveyed recently by AARP, 88 percent said they would like to stay in their current home for as long as possible. However, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, only 3.8 percent of housing units in America are equipped for people with moderate mobility difficulties. Additionally, the report estimates that a fifth of all seniors are likely to have financial assets of less than $5,000. To address the mismatch between housing needs and resources, the Center recommends a new Modification Assistance Initiative.
The report also cites Vermont’s Support and Services at Home (SASH) program as a promising model for improving resident health and slowing the growth of Medicare expenditures.