Dwelling and land use by older home owners
The ageing of Australia’s population has implications for the economy, social policy, community services and housing. This project focused on the efficiency of older residents’ homes, in particular, home owners. It offers greater understanding of how older home owners regard and utilise their housing and land, and their views about more ‘efficient’ alternatives. It also examined the role of housing and neighbourhood design in enabling people to remain living in their own homes. It found that despite the apparent under utilisation of their dwellings according to the commonly used Canadian National Occupancy Standard, the majority of older people regard their house as suitable for their needs. Extra bedrooms are used to accommodate temporary visitors and to pursue recreational activities. Older home owners expressed an overwhelming preference for remaining in their own homes, though approximately half would be prepared to live in housing specifically for older people. Few were prepared to live with their children. Based on this finding, a cost benefit analysis of three approaches to housing design to facilitate ageing in place was undertaken. Visitable design was the easiest and most cost effective to implement, whereas adaptable and universal design were more costly. The study highlighted the significance of neighbourhood design and the provision of appropriate public facilities to enable older people to maintain social participation and age in place.
Project Number: 70392
Research Theme: Health_ageing_and_disability, Urban_planning_and_development
Project Leader: Judd, Bruce
Funding Year: 2007
Research Centre: UNSW-UWS
Research & Policy Bulletin
Issue 126: How well do older Australians utilise their homes?
Despite the apparent under-utilisation of their dwellings according to previous methods of measurement, the majority of older people regard their house as suitable for their needs and adapt excess bedrooms to accommodate temporary visitors and pursue recreational activities.
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The ageing of Australia's population has been met with an increasing focus on care and housing policies for older people. Recent research suggests new housing approaches need to be explored due to changing housing ambitions between 'baby-boomers' and older residents, and the different attitudes towards housing among older people from varying Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
The project aims to provide a better understanding of recent changes in the location, dwelling type, size of older home owner's dwellings and how these factors are influenced by the age of the occupants, their health, household type and cultural background. In addition to the size of the dwelling and land, the project examines the design and layout of this space and how this space is used as the resident ages. This provides a more accurate picture of how efficiently older home-owners currently occupy their housing stock and presents the opportunity to identify housing solutions that can improve the efficient use of housing stock, while ensuring that older occupants' housing and care requirements, and their preferences, are met.
The findings of this study will provide information on the current housing situation of older home owners, and a far better insight on their needs and preferences for their housing environment, and how they utilise their housing space. These findings provide a means to better evaluate more space efficient housing alternatives, while ensuring these alternatives meet the requirements of older people and their households.
Media mentioning this research
- Generation why us: tax break could change lives — The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Apr 2012
Positioning Paper: No. 111: Dwelling, land and neighbourhood use by older home owners
5078 KB PDF Document
Final Report: No. 144: Dwelling, land and neighbourhood use by older home owners
8.7 MB PDF Document
Research and Policy Bulletin: Issue 126: How well do older Australians utilise their homes?
340 KB PDF Document