Is "Aging in Place" a Blueprint for the Future?

by Peter A. Morrison

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Aging in place (AIP) is one of the ways older persons become concentrated in communities and neighborhoods over time. The author examines AIP as a subject of potential policy interest that is ripe for interdisciplinary study using newly released 1990 census data. He offers an initial glimpse of what these data can show and then poses broad policy questions and outlines an agenda of interdisciplinary research to answer them. As AIP becomes more prevalent and widespread at local scales, significant numbers of older inhabitants will be staying put, living independently as long as they can. Future elderly aging in place will express needs in place. Their needs will be met either through expenditures in other places (e.g., retirement and nursing homes) where many of today's elderly now live out their dependent years. The latter options are one approach to achieving economies of scale. AIP poses a challenge for the nation to devise additional possibilities and, through research, to identify where in space those possibilities might become feasible in the future.

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