Accessible home features are on the upswing for a multitude of reasons (as BUILDER has outlined previously). Among those reasons is the invaluable convenience homes built with universal design concepts in mind offer to a huge cohort of the U.S. population: seniors (aged 65 and over) and people living with disabilities. Given their imminent need for accessibility, seniors and people with disabilities are a crucial target market that no builders should miss.
In particular, disabled seniors that also live independently could be a big customer base for builders, as those people have opted out of relatively effortless options like senior housing in order to hold onto their independence and the desire to age in their own home. Not so surprisingly, many seniors with disabilities in America fall into that category. According to the 2014 American Community Survey, approximately 6.8 million seniors with disabilities are living independently, even while having difficulty doing errands alone. For that group, a home product that allows residents to easily enter, navigate, and enjoy their home the same as anyone living without a disability is an indisputably big lure.
Where those potential customers reside in the country is the first step in finding your target market. Because independent-living, disabled seniors are not leaving their homes for senior housing, it's possible they may not feel comfortable moving to a new location, either. If builders could add new accessible home product to already existing communities, they could increase their chances of appealing to this cohort significantly.
In light of the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26th, we've delved into data from the Census Bureau to outline the geography of where older Americans with a disability are living independently. A 2014 report outlined a myriad of statistics about the senior population in the U.S., the number of seniors with a disability, and their living arrangement status. We have calculated the number of independent-living seniors with a disability and divided that figure by the total senior population in each state, to determine the share of independent-living seniors with a disability across the country. Our heat map showcases the share of independently-living seniors with disabilities as a percentage of the total senior population in every state.