Episode 72 - Dr. Jan Ivery and Dr. M. Lori Thomas: Aging in Place on the Streets: Homelessness Among Older Adults

Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 8:14:14 AM

Image of Drs. Jan Ivery and M. Lori Thomas

Drs. Jan Ivery and M. Lori Thomas discuss the findings of their research with the often overlooked older adult homeless population. Our guests describe the challenges of meeting the unique needs of this population and the contradictions that are raised as the older adult homeless population burgeons.

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Average Rating: 4.4 stars (7 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  homelessness among older adults, Monday, February 01, 2016

By Eman Afif :

I was very surprised how society undervalues this issue of the aging population and homelessness. When the model of ‘aging in place’ is described as looking at the long-term biological health risks along with adapted behavior, it is important to notice that older adults with lower levels of competence are more at risk. As social workers, we need to pay attention to the vulnerability of this population, the services they need, and the intensity of these services.
One of the major aspects mentioned in this podcast, in which I never realized, is the lack of connection between homelessness services and older adults/aging services. There are many services offered for these separate populations, however, there is a need for services for the combination of homelessness in the aging population. Overall, especially in this modern day society, we can improve by recognizing the vulnerability in this population, bringing awareness, and offer housing services for the homeless older adult population! In addition to this, I found it interesting that there are also sub group inequality within this population, like race issues and gender indifferences. We need to take this one step at a time in order to provide the right help.

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Average Rating: 4stars  aging polulation of homeless, Sunday, April 22, 2012

By Anonymous :

I began listening to this podcast as I do not have a lot of background knowledge on the topic of homelessness among older adults. I found it interesting that of the 1.8 to 3.5 million population of homeless people, 2-8% are 65 years old or older. What was more interesting was that one-forth to one-third of the population is 50 years old or older. This is a huge part of the population and it seems as though they are not receiving the services that are truly needed. This podcast brought up a great point about aging in place and what it means to those who have not had a stable community for a long period of time. I would like to see more research and collaboration between organizations to help this population. This is another population that is changing and social workers and services need to reevaluate and adapt to accordingly. I think this is a great introduction to the topic of homelessness among older adults.

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Average Rating: 5stars  aging homeless, Monday, January 30, 2012

By J. Magier :

This podcast addressed some of the issues with the prevailing theory of aging in place as it relates to the aging homeless population. Aging in place can afford the aging population with additional years of safety, comfort and can ease the transition and role adaptation that occurs as people age, however the dynamic shifts significantly when discussing the homeless population. As the podcast points out, there is a significant feeling of a loss of control in the aging homeless population, as well as a lack of communication within the service delivery programs that serve the aging populations as well as the homeless populations. There is a definite overlap between those service providers when it comes to homeless adults over age 50, however without the necessary communication between these service providers, there is an entire segment of the population that does not receive proper services.

It seems as if an integration of concepts such as Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the concept of aging in place and specific needs of the aging homeless should be addressed by service providers in order to adequately serve the aging homeless population. This is especially important given the demographic changes occurring within our population, and the increased need that this segment of the population has. I appreciate the focus this podcast has on the contradictions that currently exist within the service provider system, and increased attention such as this can go a long way in terms of synthesizing the current knowledge available about what is best for the aging homeless, and what can currently be provided in the existing system.

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Average Rating: 4stars  homelessness and aging, Sunday, January 29, 2012

By J. M. Myers :

This Podcast is so important, many of us lose sight of this population when discussing and thinking about aging as an issue in service delivery. This intersecting population, because of its vulnerability, is not seen with any regularity because they do not have a voice.
Additionally, aging homeless adults have less choice and control over housing, diet, exercise, and other forms of everyday activity. This translates to a decrease in health and wellness as well as increased need for services. Drs. Jan Ivery and M. Lori Thomas certainly bring home this issue.
We know that people who have the ability to stay in there homes age in a more positive way, so what about those people who do not have homes to begin with? What does their aging look like? and how does that affect services? This podcast rises awareness of this important issue.

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Average Rating: 5stars  podcast review sqwu 171-20078, Monday, January 16, 2012

By Ashley Thompson :

I enjoyed this podcast and the contributors who created it, it was very interesting. The main point to this podcast that stuck out to me was “you can’t age in place comfortably if you don’t have a place.” Most older adults want to remain in the place they consider home as long as possible, but there isn’t always a good fit between the adults as they age and the community they are comfortable in. This contributes to a lot of elderly homelessness. From the podcast I learned that there are anywhere from 1.6 to 3.5 million homeless people annually and of that 2-8% is age 65 or older, I felt like this was a very small percentage, but after thinking about it, it seems to make more sense since homeless people don’t always live long lives. Dr. Ivy and M. Thomas believe that the elderly homeless don’t get enough attention in programs that are developed to help homeless; I would have thought there are specialized programs to help elderly homeless. Hopefully the contributors to this podcast can further their work and develop ways to help more elderly homeless citizens.

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Average Rating: 4stars  the aging homeless and the question of service delivery, Saturday, October 29, 2011

By Barb R. :

This podcast sheds light on the aging homeless population and the fact that examining delivery of services to this population also provides insight into how we can deliver services to the aging population in general.
Aging in place is a great way to allow people to stay in their own homes as they age rather than being forced to choose placement in traditional institutional settings. This lends itself well to the strengths-based practice in social work, especially when the point was made during the podcast that “healthy aging means maintaining control”. Those who are in a healthy environment can indeed enjoy a certain level of control and choice over their quality of life as they age. But this discussion forces us to examine what happens when a person does not have a choice or a home to age in place in. What is the best way to deliver services to those individuals? There were other challenges to the homeless according to the podcast: lack of affordable housing; lack of sufficient income supports; and lack of targeted services.
Although the statistical research usually focuses on those aged 60 and over, aging is looked at as early as 50 among the homeless. A surprising fact I learned from the podcast was that men have a tendency to age into this lifestyle but for women a significant life event precipitated homelessness. The ratio of African-Americans is higher than any other group in all homeless categories. The homeless aging population continues to grow yet there is little research and only a couple of places, such as Boston and Los Angeles, have implemented some targeted programs.
What I learned from listening to the podcast is that it is important for social workers to think outside the box when it comes to solutions for the aging homeless, look at each situation on a case-by-case basis and not assume that the same method would work all the time. Going forward, social workers must continue to advocate for the aging homeless in order to give them a voice.

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Average Rating: 4stars  seminar 10/28/2011, Friday, October 28, 2011

By Kerry Bauer :

Homelessness in older adults is something that I am surprised that I have not thought of prior to listening to this podcast.
I found it is interesting that aging adults on the street begins at age 50 and not at an older age. However, this does actually make sense considering the risks and lack of services available to these populations. 1.6-3.5 million homeless people annually are accounted for in the US, of that, 2-8% of the population are considered aging. I suppose this number is not terribly surprising, although it is still concerning when I actually think about what it would be like to be homeless at the age of 50 or older or to have my parents out on the street at their age now.
I thought it was interesting that the speakers looked at person in environment models to examine the idea of aging in place. Physical, mental, and social health contributes to these aging adults and their situations.
I think that it is an important issue to focus on and take into consideration. The aging population is already vulnerable, however, those aging in place on the street are especially vulnerable and in need of relief. I have a personal interest in the aging population and also have specific experience working with the homeless population, which brings this topic that much closer to my motivation as a social worker. I found it interesting that the one speaker pointed out that the behaviors that are assumed of those who are aging are actually stereotypes and not true for all of the aging population. This is especially true when considering those who have not been as privileged. This topic is a reminder of the fact that services need to be adjusted to address not only the homeless population more effectively, but also that these services need to continue to adjust to changing populations. As our aging population continues to grow, we also need to continue to adapt in our services and how we are responding to these changing populations and needs.

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