Bruce Judd AHURI Hobart forum
Professor Bruce Judd

AUDIO: Older Australians utilise their houses far more than official statistics indicate and fewer seniors downsize than is commonly thought, a leading researcher told a housing forum in Hobart on Thursday.

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) brought together housing researchers from around the country together with government and industry representatives to discuss housing solutions for older people.

AHURI researcher Professor Bruce Judd from the University of New South Wales City Futures Research Centre told the forum that while the homes of 88 per cent of older Australians were considered under-utilised, 91 per cent of senior homeowners disagreed.

Following the forum, Professor Judd spoke with AAA’s Natasha Egan about the mismatch in statistics and perceptions:


Here Professor Judd describes some of the barriers older Australians face when downsizing:


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  1. Professor Judd is relevant in what he says about the needs of older people’s housing. It is up to Government, particularly local governments to guide developers towards these needs as they give approvals. Also older people are environmentally conscious and want housing built accordingly. Older people want to provide suitable sleepover accommodation for grandchildren or other family members who are further away, as well as the wonderful chance for friends from country or farther suburbs to have sleepover when attending night events and not feeling safe to drive home. Older people have hobbies often not able to give time, attention and space to before. Their is the need for study area where studies or volunteer work is kept in order. Because we are slower we want things to hand so we don’t have to run around the house looking. Older people often do a lot of volunteer work, take committee roles and paperwork. Then there is the gardening encouraged by Gardening Australia and similar projects modified to suit abilities. Not to mention the exercise programs and an indoor hanging space for sport gear. Of course a garage is safer than a carport and also shelved to contain tools and organic items for keeping pests and gardens working, as well as car items. Another item to be tackled is the matter of suitable beds, suites with double rather than queen or king and easy to make up. Where do we get these and why do they always cost so much more? Who changes the light bulbs if we are not quick enough to catch a family or friend visitor to do this. Where are the affordable handy people? The dread of most older people is to be reduced to a one bedroom/sitting area of nursing home and being talked down to. We can purchase some items online – food, clothing, even potting mixes. How do we keep our credit card safe? This touches a few items required by older people.

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