U.S. Should Make ‘Life-Long Homes’ A Priority – Henry Cisneros
By Judith Graham (original article at Kaiser Health News)
What will it take for Americans to age successfully in place? This question has immediate importance for policymakers and families as an estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years old every day. It’s the subject of a new book, “Independent for Life: Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging America,” authored by more than a dozen leading aging and housing experts and co-edited by Henry Cisneros, a four-term mayor of San Antonio and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Cisneros, who now runs a company specializing in urban real estate, spent an hour discussing his thoughts about aging in place with reporter Judith Graham. That interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q. You start this book talking about your elderly mother. Tell me about her.
A. My mom and dad bought the home across the alley from her mother’s home in 1945. It was a lower-middle-class neighborhood of civil service workers — all Latinos. It had the feeling of a Norman Rockwell picture, only all the faces were brown.
My dad passed away in 2006 at age 89, having had a stroke some years before. But my mom, 87, lives there still. The house is essentially the same as it was, with some adjustments. We put a ramp on the side of the house leading to a deck. We raised the toilet, lowered the sinks, created a walk-in shower. Changed the lighting in the den so my dad could read. Put in window guards, an alarm, and outdoor lighting for my mom because the neighborhood is somewhat in decline. Read More …