Making Healthy Homes for Low-income Seniors

January 20, 2015

As the senior citizen population in the U.S. grows, the need for adequate senior housing is becoming critical. A recent study sponsored by AARP and conducted by researchers at Harvard University explored some of the many challenges of providing housing to aging Americans—challenges that must be addressed to ensure the needs of seniors are met with dignity and respect.

One of the biggest of these challenges is affordability. Researchers found that older people often have to cut back on other expenses, including sufficient food and medical care, just to pay for a decent place to live. Seniors who are heavily burdened by the cost of their rent or mortgage sometimes spend up to 40% less on food than those who have affordable housing.

Many seniors also have special needs when it comes to housing; walking up stairs, opening heavy doors, and even turning on lights can be challenging for many. Seniors often struggle to find affordable homes with necessary accommodations, but without this combination, many may not be able to continue living independently.

Researchers also found that many older Americans are isolated by their housing situations because they are no longer able to drive, and in most places public transportation isn’t a sufficient substitute. As a result, seniors often live cut off from the world and unable to meet all of their needs, including access to crucial health care. And because their isolation often results in a lack of consistent health care, they are more likely to be readmitted after hospital stays or require time in expensive long-term care facilities.

To help low-income seniors live fuller, healthier lives, this month’s spotlight program, Villa Guadalupe, provides appropriate housing geared toward the unique needs of seniors. Villa Guadalupe provides onsite health care options and a variety of other services, including case management. Residents also have access to an abundance of social activities, which keep them actively engaged with other residents as well as their larger community. Please consider making a donation to Villa Guadalupe to help provide affordable senior housing in South Chicago for those who need it most!

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