“aGeinG in PLace”: the Views OF OLDer hOmeOwners On maintenance, renOVatiOn anD aDaPtatiOn
Judith Davey1 New Zealand Institute for Research on Ageing Te Putahi Rangahau i te Pakeke Haere Victoria University of Wellington Abstract “Ageing in place” is favoured in policies on ageing and is the preferred option of many older people. For older homeowners, remaining at home may depend on their ability to keep their homes in good condition, safe, suitable and comfortable. This research illuminates the attitudes, opinions and preferences of some older New Zealanders with respect to their current and future housing circumstances. A considerable degree of self-sufficiency ...view middle of the document...
1 The author acknowledges the contribution of Margaret Connor, who shared the interviewing and greatly assisted with the analysis of the research findings.
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand
“Ageing in Place”: The Views of Older Homeowners on Maintenance, Renovation and Adaptation
Internationally it has become accepted that traditional institutional care that keeps older people apart and medicalises old age is no longer desirable and perpetuates a negative view of ageing. Most OECD countries are committed to reducing the number of people living in institutions (OECD 2003:11). “The ageing process should no longer be viewed as an inevitable economic and social isolation from the rest of the community” (OECD 2003:173). Ageing in place therefore implies that older people will remain in the community, either in their family homes, in homes to which they have moved in middle or later life, or in supported accommodation of some type, rather than moving into residential care. It also implies living independently of other family members. There has been a decrease in intergenerational living in most developed countries, even for frail older people (OECD 2003). In New Zealand, policy statements also promote ageing in place. The New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy (Dalziel 2001:10) aims to encourage and assist older people to remain in their own homes, in order to enhance their sense of independence and selfreliance. And the Health of Older People Strategy (Ministry of Health 2002:3) proposes an integrated approach to health and disability support services, which is responsive to varied and changing needs, supports older people remaining in their own homes, and reduces the need for institutional care. The policy emphasis on ageing in place is reflected in the personal preferences of older people themselves, who prize their autonomy and independence. This emerged from consultation forums with older people held to contribute to the New Zealand Housing Strategy (Housing Corporation New Zealand 2005:61) and in literature reviewed for the CHRANZ Accommodation Options report (Davey et al. 2004). In New Zealand a high proportion of people remain in their own homes until the end of their lives.2 As part of activities in the International Year of Older Persons, the (then) Senior Citizens Unit and the Ministry of Social Policy carried out a study of the factors affecting the ability of older people to live independently (Dwyer et al. 2000). The study pointed out the social, economic and service requirements if people are to age positively “in place”. These include family support and care and the provision of home-based services through public, private or voluntary sector agencies. However, “Well designed, easy to manage, affordable, warm and safe housing is as important to independent living as inputs of care”...