Recognizing that the United States and Japan share common struggles related to their rapidly increasing senior populations, the nations are collaborating on a joint research project on aging in place. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and its Ginnie Mae corporation will work with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation, and Tourism, Urban Renaissance Agency and Housing Finance Agency to explore and expand housing opportunities that allow seniors to remain in their own homes and live independently. At a recent meeting hosted by HUD, the groups discussed focusing on such areas as innovative financing approaches, effective public-private partnerships, connections between health and housing and accessible communities.
The joint study has implications for North Carolina. A 2013 white paper from UNC Chapel Hill reports that, between 2000 and 2010, the elderly population in North and South Carolina grew faster than in any other part of the nation. Additionally, by 2010 nearly 40 percent of the elderly population in the Carolinas experienced disabilities related to aging, including difficulties with independent living, self-care, hearing, vision, cognition and getting around.