Learn about the shortage of this housing stock and how you can help
There is a “Silver Tsunami” coming due to America’s population getting older. This tsunami is creating more demand for senior housing, and there is simply not enough supply to house the people that need it. This condition will continue to get more difficult as the senior population increases and, if you are able to find senior housing that does meet your needs, there’s a high possibility that it will make you, or your loved one, go broke.
In order to avoid a detrimental senior housing crisis, senior housing options need to become more readily available and affordable to the average American who does not qualify for monetary assistance.
The Facts about Senior Housing
- According to the AARP, America will face a drastic shortage in appropriate housing by 2030, as the population of older adults will grow by more than 50% and one in every five Americans will be over age 65.
- Right now, more than 9 million Americans 65 and over live alone. Of that 9 million, 2 million state that if they needed help, there is no one for them to turn to. Further, about 7 million seniors need help performing daily activities.
- 5 ways the Affordable Housing Crisis Affects Seniors – 1) Almost half of adults ages 65 and older live in poverty, 2) most people want to maintain their independence as they age, 3) only one percent of the current housing stock offers housing truly designed for people with disabilities, 4) older adults on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) receive, on average, just $435 each month and 5) one-third of senior households has no money left over each month or is in debt after meeting essential expenses.
- Middle-class seniors are being pushed into privately-paid housing, due to declining family sizes and lack of publicly-funded options. Private-pay senior housing costs nearly $50,000 per year in the US.
- How quickly the demand will overcome the supply depends on the average age of Americans when they need assisted living, as well as the amount of available senior housing inventory. According to a study by the National Investment Center, the demand will exceed supply growth by 2022, given the current average age of admittance and if inventory of housing remains constant.
Why Should We Find a Solution for the Coming “Silver Tsunami”?
According to a recent report, “Florida has the highest concentration of older adults in the country”. It is no surprise that adults over 65 currently make up nearly a quarter of Broward County’s population. Broward County also has the fastest-growing elderly population in Florida, which makes the need for senior housing imperative.
The wave behind the “silver tsunami”, or the increasing population of seniors, will have a large impact in Broward if action is not taken. Broward County must get ahead of the curve by making senior housing affordable and accessible, before the county drowns in the silver tsunami.
Here’s Our Comprehensive List of Resources in Support of Senior Housing Awareness
Some of the following options are geared towards assisting caretakers of seniors, rather than seniors themselves. The reason for including these resources is if more assistance is available to those able and willing to care for seniors, then more seniors will be able to stay home, or with loved ones, and there should be less demand for new senior housing.
- The Optional State Supplementation Program (OSS): Provides monetary assistance to low-income seniors who need to live in a facility where they receive assistance. The cash payments, made to the senior or the individual legally responsible for them, are meant to cover room and board. Apply online.
- Learn about the Opportunity Zones Program and Opportunity Zones near you. Opportunity Zones are low income areas zoned to kick-start economic development. Another important aspect of the program is its focus on bringing jobs to the area. Every county contains at least one opportunity zone and Broward actually contains many.
- Project R.E.L.I.E.F., or Respite for Elders Living in Everyday Families, is a free volunteer-run respite care program. This program encourages families to continue to care for their elderly family members at home. To apply, find your local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA).
- Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI): Assists caregivers with caregiver training, caregiver counseling and support groups, specialized equipment and supplies for patients, and case management. Here you will find more information about the program and where to find help, based on your location. The ADI works with many different locations in Florida, including 15 Memory Disorder Clinics/Centers, the Florida Brain Bank, and multiple adult day care programs. Your local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) will be able to give more information on application and eligibility. Find your AAA.
- Community Care for the Elderly (CCE): Helps to keep seniors in the comfort of their own homes, in hopes of putting off or completely avoiding being exposed to the housing crisis. CCE services include emergency alert response, chore services, homemaker services, personal care, and respite care. Florida Department of Elder Affairs makes this program possible through contracts with Area Agencies on Aging and subcontracts with Community Care for the Elderly lead agencies. Find CCE services near you by checking the CCE Lead Agency List and contacting your corresponding agency.
- Home Care for the Elderly (HCE): designed for support to caregivers rather than those who need care, making care more easily accessible. The telephone number for HCE services in BROWARD COUNTY is 954-745-9779.
- Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County has useful addresses and phone numbers for local programs and services, if you are located in Broward.
- More Department of Elder Affairs Programs and Services, what they are, how they can help, and how to apply if eligible can be found on the State of Florida’s Elder Affairs website
Although state assistance programs are in place in an attempt to help, and optimistically solve, the senior housing issue, many of these programs are either limited availability, dependent upon current health issues, or economic status-based. The average middle-class senior could have a challenging time obtaining assistance through these programs, which reinforces the importance of advocating for fair, affordable senior housing.
What YOU can do to Raise Awareness for Senior Housing and Help with the Overall Care of the Elderly
- Advocate for fair housing options
- Advocate through the NCAL (National Center for Assisted Living)
- Support expanding housing options in your area
- Attempt to fight off the “Not In My Backyard” mentality, as well as discouraging it in your community and peers
- Support updating zoning codes to be inclusive to senior housing
- Keep an eye out on your socials for marketing campaigns from senior housing developments and make sure to like and share to show your support
- Stay up to date on current senior housing news
- Support adults in your life caring for their parents by backing integrating housing options in your area
- Support state assistance programs available to seniors
- VOTE in congressional, state, and local elections in support of legislation which favors senior housing and its funding/assistance
- Attend, support, and spread the word online about senior housing conferences such as the National Investment Center for Senior Housing and Care Conference
- Donate to the Department of Elder Affairs Grants and Donations Trust Fund
What Should You Do Now?
Get involved and spread the word about the senior housing crisis. You can do this by sharing and linking to this page.