Welcome to What We’re Reading in Health and Housing. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) launched a Health and Housing Task Force earlier this year. We are sharing recent publications, speeches and testimony we consider relevant to our work. The views expressed in these pieces do not necessarily represent the views of the task force, its co-chairs, members, advisors or BPC.
The Impacts of Affordable Housing on Health: A Research Summary
By Nabihah Maqbool, Janet Viveiros, and Mindy Ault – Center for Housing Policy
“Housing is well understood to be an important social determinant of physical and mental health and well-being. In the context of ongoing national state efforts to reform health care, it is important for policymakers to understand the various pathways through which housing affects health. Affordable housing alleviates crowding and makes more household resources available to pay for health care and food, which leads to better health outcomes. High-quality housing limits exposure to environmental toxins that impact health. Stable and affordable housing also supports mental health by limiting stressors related to financial burden or frequent moves, or by offering an escape from an abusive home environment. Affordable homeownership can have mental health benefits by offering homeowners control over their environment. Affordable housing can also serve as a platform for providing supportive services to improve the health of vulnerable populations, including the elderly, people with disabilities, and homeless individuals and families. Safe, decent, and affordable housing in neighborhoods of opportunity can also offer health benefits to low-income households.” Read the full report.
Are Millennials Ready For A 100-Plus-Year Life?
By Paul H. Irving, Chairman at the Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging, The Huffington Post
“We’re in the midst of a global demographic shift resulting from increasing longevity and low birth rates. Life-spans have nearly doubled in the last century due to advances in science, sanitation, and safety, and lives grow longer each year.
“The odds are that millennials and the generations that follow will experience significantly longer lives. So conversation about the future of aging is not just about ‘boomers.’ It’s about all of us.” Read the full blog.
Taking Better Care: Supporting Well-Being for an Aging Population
Capitol Hill Briefing by the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care and Alliance of Community Health Plans
“In a 2011 survey of older people with multiple chronic conditions, 76 percent ranked independence as the most important health outcome from treatment, followed by pain and symptom relief.
“‘We think our job is to ensure health and survival,’ writes surgeon and author Atul Gawande, M.D. ‘But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being.’
Over the next 25 years, the population of Americans aged 65 and older will double to about 72 million, with roughly 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day from 2011-2031. Members of the Alliance of Community Health Plans are caring for this growing population, realizing that their needs extend far beyond clinical care. ACHP member plans are working to keep frailer seniors out of the hospital and where they feel most comfortable — at home, in an assisted-care environment, or in some sort of combination — so their final years may be independent, dignified and personally fulfilling.” Read the full executive summary. Read the C-TAC press release.
Is your community a good place to grow old? Plug your zip code into AARP tool to find out
By Fredrick Kunkle, The Washington Post
“The AARP Livability Index uses factors such as safety, security, ease of getting around, access to health care, housing affordability, and even the prevalence of WiFi, farmers markets and public policies that promote successful aging.
“Users punch in their Zip code or street address, and the Web site crunches data to show how a community lines up against others. Ratings come on a scale of 0-100. Users can also rejigger the weight placed on certain factors to suit themselves. Someone who doesn’t care whether his town has adopted energy-efficient policies could reduce their importance in the calculations while boosting the relevance of housing costs.” Read the full article.
Older Americans Are Progressing in Several Key Measures but Inactivity Sees Sharp Rise
United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Senior Report
- Vermont replaces Minnesota as the healthiest state for seniors
- Seniors are experiencing lower hospital readmission and preventable hospitalization rates; and more often able to spend their final days in settings of their choice
- Troubling note: one-third of seniors were physically inactive in 2015, worsening after improvements last year
The seniors are coming to Twin Cities housing
By The Star Tribune and the Metropolitan Council Report
“By 2040, the population of those 65 and older will have more than doubled — from 307,000 in 2010 to 783,000. By that time, nearly one in five Twin Cities residents will be an older adult. More broadly, the latest forecast from the seven-county governmental body also estimates that the metro area will grow by about 783,000 residents, reaching 3.63 million in 25 years.
“Living quarters occupied by older adults will make up 33 percent of all households in the region over the next generation, compared with 17 percent in 2010, said Libby Starling, the Met Council’s manager for regional policy and research. Starling points out that the boomers — and the Generation Xs and Ys that follow them — are not a one-size-fits-all generation on most things, including how and where they want to live.” Read the full article. Read the Metropolitan Council report.
Senior housing transitions can lead to stigma and isolation
By Kathryn Doyle, Reuters
“‘For senior housing developers, multilevel senior housing has proven to be profitable in many ways – it’s heavily marketed and has become the prevalent model for senior housing and care,” said Kevin Eckert, another author of the paper, also of UMBC. “It is more cost-effective, profitable, and convenient to group people together by levels.”
“‘The social challenges that result are often recognized by staff and administrators but the difficulty for everyone is in imagining a true alternative, when the model so thoroughly dominates the senior housing landscape,’ she said.” Read the full article. Read the Gerontologist report.
Baby Boomers increase standard, cost for senior housing
By Thelma Grimes, Inside Tucson Business
“The business of housing Baby Boomers and beyond is becoming profitable as seniors seek all the amenities without the hassle of owning a home. And, today’s amenities don’t just mean a furnished apartment with housekeeping and landscaping. Today, amenities are about a standard. A standard Baby Boomers set, a standard Baby Boomers require. The standard is high and involves everything from fine dining, active living, gardening, social groups and facilities such as a swimming pool without the worry of maintenance, to beauty salons, spas and more.” Read the full article.
Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey
Genworth Financial Long Term Care Survey: Home Care Providers, Adult Day Health Care Facilities, Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes
“Over the past 12 years, Genworth has uncovered several trends in the long term care services landscape. Not surprisingly, the cost of all types of care has steadily risen over the years—from homemaker services to nursing home care. However, the cost of care provided in people’s homes has not risen by the same degree as care provided in facilities. Genworth’s experience shows that the majority of claims begin in the home. Plus, our research shows that being able to stay at home is very important for most people thinking about buying long term care insurance. In other words, this gradual increase in cost for home care is good news for many consumers. The median cost of living in a private room in an assisted living community in the US is $43,200 compared to $91,250 for a private room in a nursing home.” Read the full report.
“Where we live is a central component of well-being and quality of life. The residential environment is the setting in which many of our basic physical, social, and psychological needs are met.
“This publication provides useful information to help you navigate the coming changes in health care and lifestyles with special emphasis on:
- Aging in Place
- Home design and maintenance to support all ages and abilities
“In addition, the publication touches on such issues as financing, hiring, and engaging qualified professionals with specific reference to resources available locally. These changes are just a few that will help make our communities vibrant and sustainable.” Read the full guide here.
The next president needs to speak up about housing right now
By J. Ronald Terwilliger, HousingWire
“As the 2016 presidential campaign shifts into high gear, the candidates of both political parties must start speaking to the severe and growing problems in housing. For far too long, these problems have been largely ignored by the mainstream media and neglected by Washington. A housing focus has also been noticeably absent from our nation’s political discourse. That needs to end, right now.” Read the full article.
“In the three localities GAO visited, local area agencies on aging, assisted by other community-based organizations, took the lead in planning and delivering services and supports for older adults, paid for with a mix of federal, state, and local funding. An Atlanta organization employed home-care aides for older adults and delivered meals. Senior housing developments across the three localities connected more frail residents to in-home services. In San Francisco and Montgomery County, grassroots organizations known as villages provided help with errands. Officials in two localities reported that flat funding of certain state funds, combined with the growing number of older adults, has resulted in waiting lists for affordable housing and in-home services.” Read the abstract here. Read the full report here.
How to Stock the Pharmacy with Housing
By Megan Sandel and Andrew Hyatt – How Housing Matters
“Policy makers are beginning to realize that safe affordable housing is essential for good health, and doctors and hospitals are taking notice. Many people don’t realize that over 70% of privately-held hospitals are non-profit. In order to keep their non-profit status, hospitals have long had to give back to their communities through “community benefit” programs. Traditionally hospitals have not used this opportunity to invest in their communities, and directed less than 5% of their total community benefit spending towards community health improvement.” Read the full article here.