New report looks at the challenges older adults in Northern Virginia face as aging population grows

A new report found that among the country’s 50 largest metro areas, Northern Virginia had the sixth-largest increase in the population of adults 65 and older. However, it said more must be done to accommodate that growing population.

The number of adults 65 and older living in Northern Virginia increased by 61% since 2010, with roughly 310,000 living in the region as of 2020.

The Community Foundation’s Aging in Northern Virginia report states that as the population of older adults continues to grow, it’s essential for them to live in an area that accommodates three priorities: family, home and budget.

According to the report, approximately 32 home health and personal care aides are in the workforce for every 1,000 older Northern Virginians. In addition, it finds that a home health aide costs about $28 per hour, which could cost roughly $5,300 per month for “standard” 44 hours of in-home care.

Homes that are accessible and easy for older adults to live in are also considered a priority for older individuals. However, the report finds that most new and existing single-family homes are multilevel despite a strong preference for one-level living due to aging bodies.

Data from the Elder Index found that older adults require between $1,700 and $3,300 to pay for housing, food and transportation expenses. The report found that most older adults can afford their costs, but it’s likely due to the region’s “sizable wealthy, older population more so than underlying affordability.”

Several suggestions to offer more support to individuals were included in the report.

It suggested providing public universal financial planning for residents who want to plan for their long-term needs to address budgetary priorities. And to address the lack of single-family homes and townhouses built for accessibility. It advises including universal designs in plans for affordable housing.

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