S4.8 Living environment, housing and well-being in later life
Chair: Outi Jolanki
Symposium on ‘Living environment, housing and well-being in later life II’ addresses both micro- and macro-level aspects of new housing models and housing policies. The presentations show results from studies on moving patterns and housing choices of older people, as well as examples from collaborative housing models from Finland and Belgium, and their linkages to older people’s perceived well-being. The symposium raises discussion on the necessity to develop new and innovative housing models to support well-being in later life. Another question addressed in this symposium is whether the housing needs and wishes of older people are sufficiently met in ageing in place policy goal and housing development.
S4.8.1 How to shape ‘living in solidarity’ among older vulnerable people in Brussels?
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Background: The project ‘Entour-Age Noord: Inspiring and innovative housing & work’ studies collaborative housing models developed for older people in Belgium. The project was designed to improve the quality of life of older people who are ageing in the neighbourhood. Data and methods: The project employed six different ‘work packages’ within which different stakeholders and end users (older people, informal care givers, neighbourhood residents) were involved in service design, architectural workshops and site visits in a co-creation process. Results: The project also unraveled conditions and factors important to realize ‘solidary housing’: 1) The challenge to unite the needs of individual residents and the collective and finding a balance between both; 2) The continuous task to involve and engage (candidate-) residents, from early stages/the very beginning; 3) A targeted selection of (candidate-) residents; 4) Maximising the competences of older people 5) Developing a group identity and group consciousness 6) Involving external experts who provide support for group- and individual trajectories 7) Creating a climate of confidence. Conclusion: Solidary housing appeared to be a nuanced and layered concept. The participants did not want to over-idealise the concept, but demonstrate what is realistic, and how solidary housing can be shaped in daily practice.
S4.8.2 Building community of place - perspective of ageing residents
University of Helsinki, Finland
Background: The presentation focuses on local communality among older residents in the context of urban neighborhood. We explore how the elements of communality interact and relate to notion of place in a local community of older residents. The research questions are: 1. How is local communality constructed and manifested among older residents? 2. What is the role of ageing residents in relation to other actors in creating a sense of community? 3. How are the aspects of place, interest, identity and common action intertwined in a local (urban) setting? Data and methods: The research utilizes ethnographic research ideas and case study methodology. The data was collected in one Finnish (deprived) urban neighbourhood. Data comprises individual and group interviews among local activists, the participants of local activities, and project workers. Data was also gathered through observations in meetings and gatherings organized in the neighbourhood. Results: The expressions of local communality were organized activities and naturally occurring interaction. Common activities varied in content: eating together, dance, handicrafts, gardening, religious group-activities and discussion circles. Four different roles of ageing residents in building communality were identified: Heroes of everyday life, Strivers, Participants and Window-gazers. Conclusions: The residents were not placed into local community only by social forces, but they situated themselves actively in relation to the local community. Taking a role in or distancing oneself from participating in local community activities was based on the residents’ conscious reflections.
S4.8.3 Collaborative senior housing as means to improve well-being in later life
University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Background: Senior collaborative housing differs from ordinary senior housing in its emphasis on residents’ social interaction and shared activities. Knowledge on the importance of the living environment and social interaction to well-being makes collaborative senior housing an important topic to study. Data and methods: Data comprises longitudinal face-to-face interviews of 19 residents. Interviews were conducted in 2014 and 2015 in the city of Jyväskylä, Central Finland. Data was analysed via discourse analysis. Results: The residents used three discourses to describe their reasons to move to a senior collaborative housing, and their experiences of living there. ‘Accessible amenities’ discourse emphasized location of the building close to health centre, shops, library, church, public transport and recreational areas. ‘Easy living’ discourse emphasized simplifying one’s life in old age by moving from a house to a smaller apartment in a maintenance-free multi-apartment building. ‘A sense of community’ discourse portrayed a move to collaborative senior housing as means to avoid lonely old age and to live in an environment offering social contacts, reciprocal help and meaningful activities. Conclusions: Collaborative senior housing can be seen as older people’s own solution for ‘ageing well in place’ in the community. New forms of housing, and collaborative housing especially, have the potential to increase older people’s well-being and their chances to create living environments of their own liking.
S4.8.4 Housing patterns and preferences among Danish older adults 1997-2017
The Danish Centre of Applied Social Science, Denmark
Background: Moving from home to institutionalized living in the fourth age is the most common housing transition in later life. Nevertheless, moving to age-friendly, non-institutionalized housing earlier in later life could support good ageing, social inclusion and ageing in place. Methods and data: Using the Danish Longitudinal Study of Ageing, this paper analyses the housing patterns and preferences of older adults aged 52 and older over a 20-year period (1997-2017) with five observation points. Results: Older adults are, in general, not likely to move house until the transition to institutionalized care. Nevertheless, over time, among the younger cohorts, there is a notable increase in moving house or considering moving and an increasing interest in co-housing, in the third age The reasons are related to social and physical transitions in late life and include the need for smaller spaces, lesser willingness to do gardening, and issues related to service access. Conclusion: Moving house earlier in later life has been overlooked. Consequently, age-friendly yet non-institutionalized housing has been underdeveloped. Older adults may have different housing needs and priorities than other population segments. Focusing on these can help support good ageing and developing a more age-friendly society.
S4.8.5 Ageing in place – Consequences for the housing situation of older people
Linköping University, Sweden
Background: In Sweden, the number of places in assisted living facilities has decreased for a while. As a result, an increasing proportion of older people dwells in the ordinary housing market, where they themselves are responsible for finding adequate housing. Methods and data: In this study, the consequences for older people’s housingresulting from these changes are examined. The study is based on data on the housing situation and residential mobility of older people in Sweden and on data concerning different housing types available specifically to older people, as well as on the discussions resulting in two different government investigations on older people’s housing in the years 2008 and 2015. Results: Results showed that with more people ageing in place and becoming very old in these homes, the need for housing in the ordinary housing market catering to ageing people has increased. It also shows that finding an adequate place to live has been left up to the older people themselves rather than public welfare. Conclusions: A reduction of places in assisted living facilities, combined with an ageing population, will increase residential mobility and the need for ordinary housing market options suitable for older people.