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Aging Baby Boomers presents housing dilemma

Tod Riggio

Tod Riggio

There’s an interesting report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies that states that more than half of U.S. households are now headed by someone 50 and over.

“We need to address gaps in the affordability and accessibility of our housing stock,” says Jennifer Molinsky, the lead author of the report. “As the number of households in their 80s grows, it will be essential that we strengthen the links between housing, healthcare, and other services.”

The report highlights several notable trends, including:

  • Nearly a third of households age 65 and older (9.7 million) pay at least 30 percent of their income for housing, and more than half of these pay over 50 percent.
  • In 2016, 17 percent of households age 50 and over included someone who had difficulty climbing stairs or walking (including 43 percent of those 80 and over). However, according to the most recent estimates available, only 3.5 percent of U.S. homes had three key features for those with mobility challenges: single-floor living, no-step entries, and extra-wide halls and doors.
  • The share of households 80 and over that are single-person reaches 57 percent. Among renters of the same age, 77 percent live alone. Single-person households in need of support or care must rely on non-resident or paid caregivers, yet also have lower incomes than larger households.

“Given these trends, in the years to come, supportive and accessible housing will be in even greater demand for aging households,” the report concludes.

Boston’s Gallery NAGA has two intriguing exhibits set to run from Nov. 9 through Dec. 15, notably Garry Knox Bennett: Lights Out.

“After threatening that his previous two shows on the East Coast would be his last, Garry Knox Bennett has agreed to do his final exhibition at Gallery NAGA,” the gallery announced on Nov. 7.

“Widely acknowledged as a master in the world of furniture making, Garry Knox Bennett has had dozens of traveling retrospectives, has taught and lectured extensively and has had his work represented in major museums. His place in the lexicon of studio furniture is firmly established.”

His recent work, the focus of his show at NAGA, centers around lamps he’s made in the last five years. 

“Working smaller and more slowly, the 84-year-old continues to explore complex relationships between sculptural forms. Each lamp is proof that a skilled maker, such as Bennett, can achieve concise and exciting gems in small configurations,” the gallery said.

The gallery is also hosting See for Yourself: Mirrors by Studio Furniture Makers, featuring Andy Buck, Hank Gilpin, Jenna Goldberg, Reed Hansuld, Yuri Kobayashi, Judy Kensley McKie, Bart Niswonger and Jay Stanger. Each was asked to produce a mirror specifically for this exhibition but given little to no requirements.

Images from the exhibits are available at


An incorrect school affiliation was given in “Design Emphasis highlights student work at IWF” in the October 2018 issue of Woodshop News. Jacob Bower represents the Seattle Central Wood Technology Center.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue.

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