Regardless of where we live, we know that the physical (or built) and social environments can make a profound difference in an older adult’s sense of well-being.

Regardless of where we live, we know that the physical (or built) and social environments can make a profound difference in an older adult’s sense of well-being.  No environment is inherently good or bad.  What matters is the extent that the environment fits with the physical, cognitive, and emotional needs and allows them to maintain a degree of control over their surroundings.  The vast majority of older adults lives in independent housing and wants to continue to do so and regardless of the type of living situation, being able to have some control over relocation decisions is paramount.  For older adults who can no longer remain in independent housing, there is a growing number of residential living situations.  Assisted living and adult family homes are rapidly becoming cost-effective options to nursing homes for older people who need help with ADLs but not necessarily 24-hour care.  In addition, home care is now the fastest growing component of personal health care expenditures and allow older people to age in place while bringing services such as skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, and personal household care to the person’s home.  In recent years, the number of homeless adults age 55 and older has been growing and often face chronic medical, psychiatric, and cognitive disorders that go unattended because of inadequate access to health services.  The need for community-based long-term services and supports that allow elders to age in place will grow.  And, although future cohorts of elders will have more options, these will depend on their financial resources.

Module 11 Objectives:  At the end of this module, the student will be able to:

1. Report how elders’ living situations can affect their well-being

2. Discuss the various types of housing and long-term care living arrangements for older adults

2b. Describe “aging in place,”  “age-friendly communities,” and “culture change”

3. Enumerate the different social and health services to support aging in place

4. Report some of the challenges that older prisoners face

4b. List some recommendations to address their health care

Module 11 Resources / Materials :

1. Textbook reading: Chapter 11 Community Well-Being: Living Arrangements and Social Interactions

2. Videos:

Changing Aging TED Talk

Greenhouse Project

Discuss the pros and cons of different living arrangements.  For example, there are places like the Greenhouse concept, independent living at home, traditional retirement facilities.  Be sure to consider the social and health services available in each scenario.  What is your preference for your parents or grandparents?  How about for yourself?

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