A new research project is investigating the impact of ageing in place policies for older renters.
Dr Victoria Cornell from the Centre for Housing Urban and Regional Planning at The University of Adelaide said there was “a gaping hole” in our understanding of how older renters living in precarious housing experienced community aged care services.
She said the policy of expanding community aged care and the successful rollout of CDC packages was premised on the fact that older people had access to secure housing but for those living in private rental accommodation, this was not the case.
“With the ageing population and the growing number of people who are not in the position of owning their own homes, these issues are going to become more pressing.”
Dr Cornell’s study aims to explore the needs and experience of older renters receiving a home care package, including any negotiations that have taken place with their landlords in order to maximise their package. For example, the willingness of private landlords to undertake a home modification to facilitate an older person’s ability to age in place will be explored.
She said research showed that private renters, many of whom live on a marginal existence, were reluctant to raise the need for repairs with landlords for fear of eviction or rental increases, and suspected older people held similar concerns when asking for a modification to their rental accommodation.
Speaking ahead of her presentation to the International Federation on Ageing 13th Global conference in Brisbane next week, Dr Cornell told Community Care Review she wanted to understand whether living in rental accommodation made a difference to the delivery of home based care.
To explore these issues Dr Cornell is conducting focus groups or interviews with older renters who are receiving a CDC package, as well as interviews with both housing and community aged care service providers to explore the knowledge and interaction between the two sectors.
“There is research starting to come out of the disability sector that is showing similar issues in the junction between housing and disability service provision.
“For example, to what extent are the two areas talking to each other? What could coordinated service provision look like? Could there be the case where the housing and ageing and housing and disability sectors work much more closely together?”
A particular area of interest for Dr Cornell is the impact of housing and community aged care provision within a rural and remote context.
While there are good examples of collaboration and coordinated service delivery, she said the situation varied nationally.
“It is something that needs to be explored because I suspect in a lot of instances housing and aged care services are working in their own paddock and not talking to each other, not purposefully, but just not aware of the links that they could be making.”
Dr Cornell said the different state and federal responsibilities for aged care and housing further complicated at a policy level the coordination between the two sectors.
While the challenges older renters may encounter in receiving services will be explored, the possible benefits such as whether renting makes it easier to facilitate the portability of packages will be studied.
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