Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



What is an adequate income for older adults in the Boston area to age in place? How does it vary according to their life circumstances: whether they are living alone or with a spouse, rent or own their home, drive a car or use other transportation? How do Boston area elders’ living costs change as their health status and life circumstances change? What happens if they need long-term care to keep living at home?

This report will address these questions through the development of a measure of income adequacy for older adults, the Elder Economic Security Standard (Elder Standard). The Elder Standard will benchmark basic costs of living for elder households. It will illustrate how costs of living vary geographically and are based on the characteristics of elder households: household size, homeownership or renter, mode of transportation, and health status. The costs are for basic needs of elder households; they are based on market costs and do not assume any subsidies.


Prepared for the Boston Foundation.

UNDERSTANDING BOSTON is a series of forums, educational events and research sponsored by the Boston Foundation to provide information and insight into issues affecting Boston, its neighborhoods and the region. By working in collaboration with a wide range of partners, the Boston Foundation provides opportunities for people to come together to explore challenges facing our constantly changing community and to develop an informed civic agenda.



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