Aging in Place Options Scarce in Metro Atlanta
The concept of aging in place is becoming increasingly important as the American population ages, and the need for affordable, age-appropriate housing options continues to rise. According to a report by the Office of Policy Development and Research, the aging of the baby boomer generation will double the number and proportion of the U.S. population over the age of 65 by 2040. However, viable options for healthy and active Atlantans who are over 55 remain elusive.
The Aging Population in Georgia
Statistics from the United States Census Bureau show that 17.7 percent of all Georgians are over the age of 65, while in Atlanta, that figure hovers around 12 percent. DeKalb County over-65 residents comprise almost 14 percent of its 762,000 citizens, while Fulton County’s older population is around 12 percent. Most of those statistics reflect three-to-four percent increases over 2010 figures.
The Concept of “Compression of Morbidity”
The Aging in Place report discussed the concept of “compression of morbidity,” which means that people are increasingly able to live actively and largely free of disease until shortly before death. The report said that most older adults prefer to age in place, either in their own homes or in nearby housing that can be adapted to their changing needs.
Limited Aging-in-Place Amenities
While senior living facilities for those with medical needs are prevalent in Atlanta and its outlying suburbs, few communities tout themselves as offering aging-in-place amenities for adults with no immediate medical needs. Many communities, like Belmont Buckhead Village and Mount Vernon Towers in Sandy Springs, focus on options and amenities for seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living, including those suffering from dementia or memory loss, as well as seniors needing an escalating level of care.
Many healthy, active seniors are looking for “lifestyle-targeted” communities that offer plenty of living space on the main floor, open-concept floor plans, exterior living spaces, and little outside maintenance. Peachland Homes, for example, is building a 13-home community in Dunwoody called Swancy that is targeted for empty nesters. The demand for such communities is high, but the supply is limited.
Innovative Aging-in-Place Housing Options
Signal House, a 21-story, 162-unit apartment community that is currently under construction in downtown Atlanta, is aimed at active adults and the 55+ community, with a focus on health and wellness. Signal House aims to provide a digitally integrated and socially supportive living experience for a non-digitally native demographic, with convenience and technology-enabled living as key selling points. According to Jamestown officials, pre-leasing has begun.
- Demographers estimate that by 2040, the U.S. population of those age 65 and older will double and their share of the total population will rise from 13 to 20 percent.
- The trend in reduced birth rates across the nation is partly responsible for the aging of the population.
Aging in place is becoming increasingly significant as the American population ages. However, options for healthy and active seniors looking for affordable, age-appropriate housing in metro Atlanta are limited.
With the aging of the baby boomer generation, the need for affordable, age-appropriate housing options is growing. However, limited options exist for healthy and active seniors looking to age in place in metro Atlanta. Innovations like Signal House are responding to the demand for technology-enabled, healthy living options for active adults and the 55+ community. As the demand for aging-in-place housing grows, it is hoped that more options will become available in the coming years.