A grant program that converts existing low-income senior housing into assisted living communities is helping more elderly Americans age in place, in the comfort of familiar surroundings.
Even if you haven’t heard of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Assisted Living Conversion Program, chances are you will soon.
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Since 2012, $26 million in grant funding was awarded to owners of multi-family housing developments in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Texas.
The monies have been used to convert existing units into affordable apartments for seniors who need assisted living services, but who still want to live independently.
The idea of aging in place — staying in one’s own home or community for as long as possible — is an increasingly popular one, particularly as the first wave of baby boomers begins to face the expenses of long-term nursing care and increasing retirement costs. HUD has traditionally helped advise seniors on their housing options, including affordable possibilities for assisted living, and this grant program will provide even more opportunities for seniors in subsidized or low-income housing.
“We’re getting older as a nation and with that demographic shift, there is a growing demand for affordable housing that will allow our seniors to live independently in their own homes,” said Carol Galante, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner, in a press release.
“These grants will help these apartment owners to convert their properties into assisted living or service-enriched environments that will allow seniors to remain in their homes for as long as they can.”
The HUD grant program is welcome news for aging Americans and their caregivers. As seniors age, more specialized care needs to come to the forefront, and paying for private assisted living is prohibitively expensive for many families. Furthermore, navigating the Medicaid process to pay for assisted living can be difficult and onerous, notes an article on AssistedLiving.com.
Now, however, 11 facilities in 9 states have be established in order to help seniors stay in place — with much-needed assisted living services such as personal care, safety systems, transportation, elevators, meals and housekeeping. Help with daily living activities like these is key for many seniors who wish to remain independent.
One of the awardees is Delta Volunteers of America Elderly Housing Inc. in Colorado, which has converted 22 of its apartments into assisted living units. Not only will the conversion help more seniors stay out of costly nursing care, according to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., these units will also “help reduce health care costs by providing access to health care services in the home rather than in a hospital,” according to the Montrose Daily Press.
Do any of you have senior loved ones who will be helped by the new HUD grant program? We want to hear your stories — share them with us in the comments below.