Black Americans Face Income, Disability Barriers When Aging At Home

Adequate retirement funds and healthcare are attainable by many.

New research suggests that Black Americans are disproportionately unable to age at home comfortably.

They are less likely to age in place from disabilities and income barriers, according to a study published Oct. 4 in the journal Geriactic Nursing.

The study, led by University of Michigan School of Nursing assistant Professor Sheri Robinson-Lane, included 2,227 random Americans aged 50 to 80. Researchers surveyed the group between January and February 2022.

Nearly one-third of those surveyed (30.9 percent) lived with a disability. Among the entire group, Black Americans had the highest disability rate (40 percent), along with higher rates of “fair” or “poor” physical health (37.1 percent), compared to the overall group at 20.9 percent.

Structural, Environmental Racism May Speed Aging In Black People

Financially, half of the Black households reported an income lower than $30,000 per year, compared to about a quarter (23.3 percent) of the overall responders with the same annual income. The racial income and wealth gap means many older Black Americans cannot afford in-home care that would enable them to live comfortably in their homes.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Administration on Aging reports that older adults typically need assistance. Someone turning 65 has an almost 70 percent chance of needing long-term care and supportive services in the years ahead, and 20 percent will need the care for five years or more.

"Aging in place requires a proactive individual and community-based approach that facilitates older adult independence and connects adults with the social, clinical, and environmental support needed to remain in one's home for as long as possible," the study said.

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