Despite the growing specialization of assisted living facilities, the vast majority of seniors would prefer to age in place, notes Nancy Thompson, AARP spokeswoman.
However, assisted living centers have been the only option seniors could afford -- until recently.
A new grass-roots model of assisted living, called Villages, is helping seniors remain in their own homes as they age, while still offering the support services they need, including personal care, help with yardwork, trips to the grocery store and social outlets.
Such villages, which are typically run by neighborhood volunteers, are funded by annual membership dues and are open to seniors within a specific community.
Dues range from $50 to $1,500 a year, but the average is $430, says Candace Baldwin, director of strategy for aging in community with the Village to Village Network in Arlington, Virginia.
To date, there are about 145 such villages across the country, including Beacon Hill Village in Boston, and more than 100 more under development.