Aging in Place in Howard County: A Survey of Older Adults
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This report is a compilation of original research conducted by students in the course SPGL498G, Pubic Health in the City, during the spring 2016 semester at the University of Maryland College Park. (See Appendix A) Students interviewed older adults in Howard County to determine factors that could impact their ability to age in place. We defined aging in place (AIP) as, “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably regardless of age, income or ability level.” (CDC, n.d.) Research has shown that 90% of older adults express a desire to age in place and many characteristics affect their ability to do so, including their financial status, social supports, functional abilities, and access to housing. (Golant, 2008). We sought the answers to the following research questions: What percentage of older adults in Howard County desire to AIP, and how does this vary by age, gender, race/ethnicity?; Can we distinguish between different levels of preference? (generalized preference vs. desire to AIP even with a disability); What are the characteristics of those who wish to AIP?; How do County residents use existing resources such as 50+ Centers?; What is the impact of 50+ Centers on older adults’ well-being? Currently, 10.1% of Howard County’s population is 65 years of age or older. By the year 2040, it is estimated that this population will more than double, to 22.4%. (Engelberg, 2016) We aimed to both identify barriers and facilitating factors to aging in place in Howard County. Finally, we make recommendations for changes to existing programming or policies that could assist residents who want to age in place.