The My Home My Choices tool from New Zealand has some good advice about ageing in the right place.
The tool has four steps: individual wants and issues; opportunities for improvement in the home and lifestyle: different options for maximising the use and value of the home; and other choices such as moving, sharing, home modifications and home support.
This tool is easily adapted from the New Zealand model and you can also read the research behind it.
Ageing better at home
The majority of our homes are designed as if we are never going to grow old, and most of us will need to modify our home as we age. That’s if you want to stay put, which is what most older people say is their preference.
A report from Centre for Ageing Better in the UK gives an excellent overview of how home modification improves quality of life, mental health and overall independence. Dwellings might be a “product” to property developers but for the rest of us a “home” is the pivot point for living our lives.
A great quote from a study participant to reflect upon, “You don’t get taught, at any point in your life, how to become an older person. It just sort of happens, you know…”. So waiting for consumers to ask for universal design isn’t going to work.
Ageing in Place: A timely book
Across the globe, older people want to stay put as they age. They do not aspire to residential care and are also moving away from the retirement village model. But are our planners, designers and builders listening? COVID-19 pandemic is also challenging established policy about where older people want to live. “Ageing in Place” is a timely book.
The title of the book is, Ageing in Place: Design, Planning and Policy Response in the Western Asia-Pacific. It looks at ageing in place in Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
From the book review:
Ageing in Place considers diverse cultural, political and environmental contexts and responses to show that regional governments, industries and communities can gain, as well as offer, important insights from their international counterparts. With changes in caring and family dynamics, the chapters demonstrate a clear preference for ageing in place and the need for collaborative efforts.
The findings from a 2018 survey gives a good idea of what people think about accessible housing. Four narratives frame the report: the housing industry view; the government view; prospective buyers’ view; and the perspective of people who need mainstream accessible housing.
The Australian Network on Universal Housing Design initiated the research It is a lengthy and detailed report. Essential reading for anyone interested in this topic or the history of this 20 year campaign.