Affordable community-based housing arrangements have sprung up to accommodate low- and moderate-income elderly adults with functional limitations and chronic illnesses. Known by a variety of names, including affordable supportive housing or affordable residential care, they offer a range of supports that enable vulnerable residents to live independently and avoid, or at least delay, the need for more costly nursing home care. Research on the benefits of affordable clustered housing has been inconclusive, however. In a Commonwealth Fund–supported article, experts offer a framework to assess the current knowledge about these residential care settings.
What the Study Found
The components of the framework include inquiries to evaluate the structure of housing-care settings (physical infrastructure, staffing, types of health care services and social amenities); the process (physical safety, service coordination, staff turnover); and outcomes (mortality rates, hospitalizations, self-rated health, respect for individual rights). This framework will be tested to evaluate a rent-assisted housing arrangement in Richmond, Virginia.
"Affordable clustered housing-care settings offer one important public policy solution that can respond to the aging-in-place demands of tomorrow's older baby boomer population," the authors conclude. However, more research is needed to determine what works, who benefits, and why.