Topic: Ageing in Place – Available to all?

Day: Thursday 15 October 2020

Time: 1:30pm – 1:50pm AEDT

Abstract:

Ageing-in-place has been shown to increase mental and physical health outcomes for older Australians, and it is also a response to our individual desires. Ageing-in-place supports ongoing connection to community and a sense of place – surely something that all of us aspire to.

For some older people to maintain their health and wellbeing and to remain in their homes as they age, home‐based aged care services are needed, the effective delivery of which assumes that the recipient’s housing is appropriate, stable and affordable. However, a growing number of older people are living in housing that is not appropriate, stable, affordable or secure.

Outright home ownership rates among older Australians are falling, with an associated rise in older people living in rented accommodation. Based on the assumption that the proportion of older people in the rental market remains the same over the next four decades, ageing of the population means the projected growth in older households in the rental market across the country will increase from 300 000 in 2014 to 600 000 in 2054.

Given the way that retirement living options are currently delivered, the reality is that many of these renters are likely to be living – and probably struggling – in the private rental market. Finding suitable, affordable, accessible housing on a long tenancy, and/or finding a landlord who is willing to have modifications made, can be difficult for older people.

ECH (Enabling Confidence at Home) is proactively addressing this issue, under our Wellbeing model with a ‘home fit for purpose’ quadrant. We are committed to providing affordable housing options and currently over 27% of our portfolio of 1,828 independent retirement living units are dedicated rental units. We are actively exploring new housing options such as shared housing and co-housing. These models of housing have also been highlighted by the Royal Commission inquiry’s Integrated Care paper, which recognised the intersection of housing and the ability to receive care, and the assumption that home care clients have stable and sustainable housing.

These options do not come without issue, however, with challenges including economics and the preparedness of investors to invest in these new types of venture without a change in Government policy. This presentation will challenge providers to think about alternative ways of providing housing and care options to their clients, that cater to all aspirations and abilities for people as they age.

Biography:

Victoria is the Housing Research Manager at ECH, one of the largest providers of independent living and aged care services in South Australia; and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide. These roles, straddling academic and service-based research and development, give her a unique insight into translating research to action.

As a social gerontologist, Victoria’s areas of research interest include aged care provision, community connectedness, the built environment and housing – especially alternative models of housing, and housing for vulnerable older people. Victoria’s research and engagement in the area of social gerontology has been recognised in journal article publications, conference presentations and media interviews. Victoria is the nominee of SA Division for the Australian Board of Directors of the AAG and Trustee of the AAG Research Trust, and is the convenor of the AAG’s Housing and the Built Environment special interest group.