For low-income seniors, the lack of access and choice are unfortunate aspects of the general senior housing industry. To promote innovative change in that sector, an exciting new healthy-aging initiative in older adult housing communities will be offered to those with limited incomes.
American Baptist Homes of the West (ABHOW), an industry leader in senior housing and healthcare, has partnered with researchers at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research to test a new concept that promotes successful aging in two senior housing communities in Redlands, California.
The “Masterpiece Living: Successful Aging in Action” initiative grew out of a MacArthur Foundation 1998 study on aging that found 70 percent of physical aging and 50 percent of mental aging are determined by a senior’s lifestyle. The initiative is a multidisciplinary, holistic programming model that partners with senior housing communities, healthcare, mature-market service providers, and other forward-thinking organizations. Masterpiece Living has been introduced in over 70 locations in the U.S., but the two in California will be the first to offer affordable housing to older adults in a lower income bracket
Changing Current Housing Models
ABHOW first introduced Masterpiece Living in 2007 in a Washington state location and now most of their continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) have incorporated the program. Ancel Romero, ABHOW’s senior vice president for affordable housing says, “We want to make successful aging accessible to all older adults, not just residents in CCRCs. We believe this initiative will allow us to show how affordable housing residents and all older adults can benefit from a physically and mentally active lifestyle as well.”
Pioneering this program is expected to produce outcomes and data that will be presented to policymakers and federal agencies such as the Administration on Aging and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Hopefully, this model will demonstrate the need to improve quality of life and accessibility for seniors in all income categories.