ATLANTA, Ga. — It takes minutes into a visit with Deborah Glover to see she’s one in a million. But in fact, she's one of ten million. One of ten million Americans over 70 living by themselves, aging in place.
As seniors age, they, and their families, face decisions about where to live. A University of Michigan poll found that 88% of adults ages 50 to 80 want to remain in their homes as long as possible. A report from Harvard estimates the number of seniors living alone will nearly double in the next 20 years.
Often, those seniors end up in nursing or assisted living centers before they need to.
Glover lost her husband in 2014 and her daughter in 2019. All she had was her shed. For 20 years, she lived in the makeshift home on a plot built for a house.
Kathy Colbenson is the president and CEO of CHRIS 180. They’re a nonprofit in Glover’s home city of Atlanta. They’re known for supporting homeless youth. But one of their partner programs connects them with seniors, which is how they learned of Glover.
Colbenson’s team came up with Glover’s new home: a house built on that plot— with three units. Two are for mothers without homes in need of stability and mentorship. One is Glover’s. She provides mentorship and can stay as long as she likes.
“When they got out there, they said, ‘We got some good news for you. You can have more than a bathroom. We’re going to build your whole house.’ I, like, fell out,” Glover said.
Glover’s new home is, for now, a one-time endeavor by CHRIS 180. Her arrangement is exceptional, and not realistic for the millions more seeking a path for aging in place.
But it’s worth seeing how it looks when they can. Glover sets out food for six cats. provides a shoulder for those in need and gets to remain in the place she loves.