Older Americans Face Challenges When Aging in Place

Retrofitting a Potential, But Out-of-Reach Solution for Many

Chief Economist, Sean Becketti, previews the Freddie Mac February Insight: Can I Age in Place?

MCLEAN, VA--(Marketwired - Feb 21, 2017) - Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) released today its Insight for February, which outlines challenges, costs and potential solutions of addressing the desire of older Americans to age in place. Survey data shows half of all 55+ Americans and three quarters of 75+ Americans are impacted by at least one physical functional limitation, heightening the growing demand for retrofitting.

Insight Highlights

  • The Freddie Mac survey of the 55+ population indicates almost two-thirds of homeowners -- 43 million people -- wish to age in place. 
  • Two-thirds of survey participants report their homes are not accessible for someone with arthritis, limited mobility, or in a wheelchair.
  • About 1.5 million older households today need some retrofitting, and that number rises to 2.0 million per year by 2030.
  • If a major retrofit is required, it can be 40 times more expensive than a simple retrofit such as adding some grab bars and new drawer handles.
  • Retrofitting may be too expensive for many of those who wish to age in place.

Quote attributed to Sean Becketti, Vice President and Chief Economist
"Nearly a quarter of all Baby Boomers are going to be faced with the financial realities of aging in place, which can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Of course, the cost depends on the type and condition of the home. Many older homes, such as many of the colonial-style homes common in the Northeast and Midwest, may not be good candidates for retrofitting. For some of them, aging in place until the bitter end may not even be a possibility. Like Betty Davis said, 'Old age is not for sissies.'"

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we've made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders and taxpayers. Learn more at, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac's blog


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