Preparation needed to stay at home

New research has found that older Australians’ desire to remain living at home increases with age, however, the majority of people have not done enough to modify their properties, creating the risk they will be forced to make unwanted accommodation decisions under duress.

Research conducted by the Global Centre for Modern Ageing (GCMA) and released this week in the report Ageing in the Right Place, An Australian Perspective found that despite wanting to stay at home, only 17 per cent of the older Australians surveyed thought their home would require repairs or modifications to enable them to do so.

Even among those experiencing difficulties at home, only 40 per cent of respondents acknowledged the need for home modifications.

GCMA chief executive Julianne Parkinson said the research identified a need for greater public education around home modifications to help people understand what was required, the options available to them and the processes involved before decisions are rushed or forced.

“For people who have identified the need to make changes around their home, our research identified key barriers to home modifications, including affordability and being able to find trusted builders and tradespeople,” Ms Parkinson said.

The GCMA’s research director, Stuart Smith, said older people increasingly wanted to remain living in their own home.

“The GCMA’s research revealed that almost two-thirds of those aged 75-plus think they will stay in their home, which is double that of the youngest cohort surveyed (55-64 years),” Dr Smith said.

“Helping people to remain independently in their homes is increasingly important. However, we know that this may not always be possible, so it is also critical to understand how ‘home’ can be created in any place of residence.”

To assist in this transformation, the research identifies seven distinct needs that determine the ‘right’ place for people as their circumstances change.

The seven needs of the ‘right’ place identified are: choice, safety, comfort, access, independence, connection, and happiness.

What modifications have you made to your home to assist you to stay in your home longer? What are the barriers to making modifications to your home?

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Written by Ben

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