Maximise inclusion for ageing in place

A row of red brick terraced houses where people will age in place.
An image from the report

What does ‘ageing in place’ actually mean? For some it means staying put in the family home in their later years. For others it means staying in the same community. A co-design method was used to maximise inclusion for ageing in place. 

Researchers at the University of Manchester developed a ‘village’ model of support based on those in the US. The residents came together to identify the services that they need and how they could be better managed. Storytelling was an integral part of the data collection. Ideas were generated for supporting ageing in place at a local level. 

Front cover of the report on ageing in place.
Front cover of the report

The report on the project provides more detail about the diversity of the people they worked with. It recounts the difficulties recruiting volunteers and participants as well as overcoming distrust of decision-makers. Access to formal and informal meeting places was also an issue.

Recommendations include building social infrastructure and strengthening organisations led by older people. The title of the report is, Community interventions to promote ‘ageing in place‘. 

To move or not to move?

We expect to grow old, but because we don’t aspire to grow old, we rarely plan for it. “I’ll worry about it when the time comes” is a usual response. A report from AHURI looks at the housing situation for older Australians and some previous research is confirmed.

Most respondents felt their current home would suit them as they grow older, but they are not planning ahead. If they are, they lack information on how to go about it, what to look for, and what their options are other than age-segregated housing. A significant proportion of respondents hadn’t thought about planning ahead for their living arrangements. This is one reason why we need the Livable Housing Design Standard adopted in all states and territories. It is in the 2022 edition of the National Construction Code and there is a handbook for designers.  

Plenty of material in this report for anyone interested in housing and older people. Title of the report is, Older Australians and the housing aspirations gap. There’s a full report and an executive summary. 

But do all older people want to stay put?

Apartment block with blue windows and balconies with plants and washing drying.It is often said that older people want to stay put, but this may not be the case for everyone. A study from Berlin, Germany looked at this issue in depth. While some of the findings might be specific to Berlin, the article raises interesting questions.

The researchers found that social class, gender, age and migrant history were not necessarily measures of movement behaviour. The top three reasons that emerged were: to have a smaller apartment, an obstacle-free apartment, and to have to a cheaper apartment. 

The title of the article is, Why Do(n’t) People Move When They Get Older? Estimating the Willingness to Relocate in Diverse Ageing Cities.  This is an open access article in Urban Planning journal. The results indicate decisions to move are multifaceted. Older adults are not an homogeneous group with the same needs. As with other studies, older people want the same things as younger people. 

Related reading

Jem Golden provides an overview of the research project in a LinkedIn article.  The main objectives are:

    • Advance understanding of ‘ageing in place’ in cities using interdisciplinary perspectives
    • Examine policies and age-friendly initiatives aimed at supporting ageing in place across seven cities
    • Explore experiences of ageing in place among diverse ageing populations (reflecting different ethnic, gender and class backgrounds) living in urban neighbourhoods
    • Develop methods and tools for measuring and reporting the impact of age-friendly interventions
    • Co-produce innovative models of dissemination with various stakeholder groups

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