Exploring the journey of housing in the United States through an anthropological lens, we notice a fascinating shift over time. Property sizes have consistently grown larger, while household sizes have shrunk. Consequently, the U.S. is now grappling with a housing crisis. The focus on constructing large single-family homes has contributed to a shortage of middle housing options like accessory dwelling units (ADUs), townhouses, and duplexes.


Presently, government agencies and housing groups are striving to diversify middle housing choices, with ADUs taking a leading role. There is currently a growing demand for senior living options. Between 2007 and 2021, senior households (aged 65 and above) increased by over 51%, reaching 34.3 million.


In 2021, AARP conducted a survey on aging preferences, revealing a strong inclination towards “aging in place.” This term refers to older adults continuing to live independently in their homes as they age, avoiding the need for assisted living and/or retirement facilities. While the preference is clear, the reality is that most U.S. homes need significant modifications to accommodate aging residents. AARP’s survey found that 71% of respondents would need to make significant renovations for successful aging in place.


As we address the challenges of housing our aging population, millennials face affordability hurdles in the current housing market. On the other end of that, older generations are enjoying the security of their single-family homes with extremely low interest rates from pandemic era refinancing. This has led to a trend of older adults building ADUs on their own properties or properties of their adult children, promoting affordable multi-generational living.


(Our client in the video above built this ADU with her aging parents in mind. Check out what she has to say about the design/build process and find the other video below for a full tour.)


Open Concept ADU

According to the AARP poll, 60% of individuals aged 50 and over are open to relocating to an ADU for reasons like proximity to loved ones, support with daily activities, and saving money. Additionally, 62% expressed willingness to build an ADU on their property for a family member or friend in need.


If you’re considering building an ADU in the Portland area, Shelter Solutions has Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS) ready to assist you. Even if aging in place isn’t your immediate goal, ADUs can serve various purposes throughout your homeownership journey; from a home office to a rental income property, multi-generational living, aging in place, and more!


Shelter Solutions has successfully constructed numerous ADUs for seniors, providing personalized housing with security, privacy, and accessibility. As Certified Aging In Place Specialists, we prioritize accessible and universal design principles. We can ensure your ADU meets current and future needs with features like wide door openings, spacious bathrooms, and intentional grab bar placement.

We look forward to hearing from you!