How Housing and Services Matter in Aging: The Practice Agenda

Crafting Aging in Place Service Models Focused on Well-Being and Independence

September 17-18, 2015

urbanThe Urban Institute and the Stanford Center on Longevity, in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, convened a Roundtable discussion on September 17-18, 2015, focused on identifying new aging in place service models that focus on well-being and independence. As part of the MacArthur Foundation’s How Housing Matters Initiative, the roundtable brought together a small group of policymakers, researchers, business-leaders, and practitioners at Stanford University.

In preparation for this conference, the Center on Longevity conducted a series of interviews with service and housing providers to identify the practical barriers to delivering quality services to those aging in place at all socioeconomic levels. The Roundtable focused on crafting new aging in place service models that focus on well-being and independence. At the meeting, using design thinking techniques, the group challenged themselves to think about how to create and deliver the kinds of services and supports that people want for themselves as they age. Participants focused their thinking less on “fixing problems” faced by older people and more on creating possibilities and solutions that lead to greater well-being and happiness for individuals in later life. This is a subtle but important shift in thinking about housing and services for an aging America. The group also pushed themselves to think less about small model programs that might be piloted in enlightened communities and more about solutions that can scale across the country to become readily available for people in diverse circumstances and at affordable cost levels. This spontaneous process, in which small groups quickly produced pitch decks, encouraged creativity. Conference attendees engaged directly with a group of older adults at the conference, to gain their feedback and thoughts in the brainstorming process.

The conference used a “launch” model developed at the Center on Longevity that has proven effective in generating focused, productive discussions. Typically, the Center convenes people from the business world and academia who might not necessarily make contact with each other. The model minimizes talks and presentations and emphasizes discussions on targeted topics. In this way the Center on Longevity facilitates an informal yet rich conversation that leads to specific next steps and practical solutions.

Care Innovations by GE and Intel conducted a “hackathon” at Stanford in conjunction with Roundtable. The goal was be to identify models for the use of technology to support service delivery. The hackathon occurred September 18-20, just after the Roundtable, giving participants the ability to attend both events.