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Blog | Housing and Accommodation – The Issues

Housing and Accommodation - The Issues

27/1/2016

conversationSince October last year COTA SA, in partnership with the City of Salisbury, has started holding regular Conversations with Northern Seniors. The conversations are a great way to hear the views of older people about all sorts of things - ageism, housing, transport, health, living well and so on.

Amongst these issues, housing or where we'll live as we age, is proving to be a hot topic. It's one of the issues we've highlighted in our latest State Budget Submission so we decided for the blog post this week to summarise what we're hearing, outline the key recommendations we've included in the Budget Submission - and invite you to continue to share your thoughts and feelings with us.

"I like where I live"

One of the key messages we're hearing is that, almost unanimously, people like where they live and want to remain in the community they live in as they age. They know their community, love and rely on their connections with family and friends; it's familiar - which makes it feel safer; and they know the area and the local amenities.

To move or not to move...

While people clearly want to age within the communities they have chosen sometimes as long ago as 40 or even 50 years, opinions on whether they would remain in their current house are much more varied. Many say they want to stay in their current home because it is just that - their home. As long as services such as maintenance and adaptation are available to make it possible they want to stay there. Others recognise there may be a need to down-size - or rather right-size - in the future when the maintenance or size of the property becomes too much; however the issue then becomes affordability:

  • The current home may not have enough value to fund a move to another home
  • Affordable housing is more likely to be in areas distant from community hubs and regular, reliable transport
  • Moving costs a lot of money and pension incomes do not provide for other than week to week living
  • Moving takes lots of physical effort, planning and other resources and that is not always available.

Key messages...

The key messages from the conversation on housing were:

  • Affordable Housing - older people need access to affordable housing (both to rent and buy) in areas which allow them to continue to both engage with and contribute to their local community. Unlike many definitions of affordable housing, for many people we speak to that is housing that will not create "housing stress" - ie take up as much as 40% of income in rents or repayments
  • Ageing in place - support and services are needed to enable people to stay in their own homes for longer
  • Age Friendly Communities - ease of transport and accessibility to amenities in the local community are of vital concern
  • Support to relocate - financial and other
  • Better returns on current homes to enable right sizing to be an option
  • More support to maintain current houses and keep adapting to changing needs

These conversations have helped to inform the State Budget Submission COTA SA made last week, visit this page for a summary of the key points in the submission - or download and read the full submission.