A new survey of hundreds of federally sponsored local agencies that assist aging Americans has found increased efforts to help the elderly remain in their homes as they grow older, a policy known as “aging in place”. A 2013 survey by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging found that more than 70 percent of local service providers now offer programs to help people find alternatives to nursing homes or other institutional care. That’s up from less than a third in 2008, the survey said. The increased focus on seeking alternatives to institutional care comes as the United States undergoes a dramatic demographic shift toward an older population. Today’s older Americans – 88 percent of those 65 and up, according to a recent AARP study – prefer to stay in their residence for as long as possible. A generation or two ago, many Americans assumed that when they grew older and more frail, they would go to a nursing home or assisted-living facility. However, a new concept known as “villages” has emerged. The phenomenon has swept through the Washington area at an astonishing rate in recent years. A “senior village” provides for an annual fee of $700 per individual or $950 per couple, and coordinates volunteers to provide older residents with services that help them live independently.
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