The 2010 census had some interesting things to say on the subject.

First, more people were 65 years and over in 2010 – 40.3 million, with 13.1 million aged 75-84 – than in any previous census. Second, the 65 years and over cohort increased at a faster rate (15.1 percent) than the total U.S population (9.7 percent).  And, third, increasing numbers of the 65+ cohort are male.

Everyone knows that maintaining an independent lifestyle – in their own home – is a hope and goal of many seniors.

But many seniors are also living on fixed incomes, often alone. And houses age with the people who live in them, requiring expensive maintenance and updates.

Enter the Junior League of Tucson.

Looking for a new focus project, JLT’s research showed that some 80,000 single family homes were built in Tucson from World War II through 1979. These aging homes make up most of Tucson’s affordable and, in many cases, most dilapidated housing.  And many of those houses are the homes of Tucson’s senior citizens.

What JLT discovered is that most of these houses are structurally sound and can be maintained. But often key household systems heat and air conditioning are outdated. Few are handicapped accessible. And almost all are energy inefficient. But an interesting fact emerged: The cost of replacing these homes would be roughly 10 times more than updating them…and volunteers can do a lot of the worked needed to make them more livable for seniors!

The project that came out of that research is called JLT C.A.R.E.S (Creating Appropriate Residences for Every Senior). JLT C.A.R.E.S. focuses on the needs of underserved and vulnerable seniors living in substandard housing conditions by providing direct support in terms of the volunteers, resources and materials necessary to provide critical home rehabilitation improvements.

Working with community partners like Habitat for Humanity Tucson; Lend a Hand Senior Assistance, a coalition of central Tucson neighborhoods, faith-based communities, and business partnerships; and NARI of Southern Arizona, the leading grade group of professional remodelers in the area, JLT volunteers have the materials and expertise they need to get the job done!

Writing on Facebook about its most recent event, the League said: “JLT C.A.R.E.S workday this Saturday, November 3rd! We will be installing doorknobs, smoke detectors, and cleaning up grease that has covered the walls and floor in the kitchen for one of our senior neighbors. Please come out and join us in showing the community what a strong commitment the Junior League has to volunteerism! Socialize, learn to use a hammer properly, meet new people, bring your family…make it what you want. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Sounds like fun!

To view a YouTube video of a typical JLT C.A.R.E.S event, go to this link.