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Virginia's 60 and older population is growing; what does that mean for aging in place?

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UVA Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service
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New research from the University of Virginia is shining a light on aging in place.

One in five Virginians is over the age of 60, a growing demographic as life expectancy continues to rise. That's leading to new research to understand how and why older Virginians age in place.

Sol Baik is a researcher at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at UVA.

"Interestingly, the demographic pattern of aging in place has been consistent in the last 10 years in Virginia," Baik explains. "So, rural older adults continue to be staying in their same houses than urban, older adults."

She says the concept of aging in place has been romanticized. But it's not ideal for all older adults.

"It is ideal for those older adults who have all the infrastructure and all the surrounding environment is supportive of healthy aging," Baik says. "However, some older adults have different experiences, and they may stay in their places without their choice because they do not have enough financial resources."

She says more research is needed to understand why older adults in rural Virginia stay where they are instead of moving into assisted living facilities or senior villages.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Updated: December 9, 2022 at 4:50 PM EST
Editor's note: The University of Virginia is a financial supporter of Radio IQ.
Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.