Happy homes, friendly neighbourhoods

An older woman walks on a bitumen path in a park. Two older men are sitting on a seat along the pathway.The notion of age-friendly cities is not new, and neither is age-friendly housing design. However, researchers tend to look at one or the other but not both. A study by a group at University of South Australia has sought to join the dots showing the dependency of one upon the other. Creating age-friendly environments begins at home, across the threshold to the street and on to the broader environment. Like any chain, it is as strong as it’s weakest link. While some local authorities are doing their best to be age-friendly in their area, they are not able to influence the design of mass market homes. That is the role of state governments and their control of the National Construction Code.

The report of the study titled, Towards Age-Friendly Built Environment, supports previous research and recommendations. Given that not much is changing, this is another worthy paper. The key point is linking life at home with life in the community and showing how it supports the health and wellbeing of older Australians. This in turn takes the pressure from government funded home modifications and support services – not to mention tax payers.

Abstract: The population of aged people is increasing dramatically throughout the world and this demographic variation is generating different challenges for societies, families and individuals in many different ways. One of the effective approaches for responding towards demographic ageing is to have more evidences on creating age-friendly communities. Despite of having number of researches on ageing, there is limited knowledge on identifying components for developing age-friendly communities and cities. This research therefore, aims at discovering the benefits of properly designed age-friendly communities and interrelationships of key related concepts. To accomplish this aim, relevant research papers have been reviewed and subjected to thematic analysis.This study emphasizes on improving the overall wellbeing of elderly not only by finding out the improvement strategies on the health care facilities but also by finding strong evidences on benefits of designing their housing and immediate outdoor environment. Therefore, this study recommends future research directions on developing built environments responsive to the aspirations and requirements of aged population which can not only assist the adoption and maintenance of an active lifestyle, but it can also be beneficial to the physical and psychological overall well-being of aged population. More studies on planning urban environmental settings targeting aged population can be beneficial to not only aged people but for people from every age group. Thus, these settings will be advantageous for anyone with varying requirements with changing generational needs and lifestyles from a child to a couple to aged people.

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