Creating liveable cities for older Australians

Monday, 8 May 2017

A team of researchers from the University of Newcastle (UON) has been awarded a Liveable Communities Grant to identify how to best meet the housing needs of an ageing population.

Dr Meredith Tavener, Professor Julie Byles and Dr Catherine Chojenta will build on preliminary work conducted by the Priority Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing to create a framework for housing to help people live more active and healthy lives as they age.

Based at the Hunter Medical Research Institute, the team has already laid the groundwork for this project with their previous work in the Priority Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing.

The ‘Housing and Independent Living project’ identified several important ways that people’s homes and environments can help them live independently as they age.

Dr Meredith Tavener is excited about the potential of this project to help older adults make housing decisions through the development of a housing decision checklist, developed with members of the community.

“In general, older people may not wish to move, however, their housing needs change as they age,” Dr Tavener explains.

‘Ageing in place’ is a current policy that ensures that people can live in the residence of their choice for as long as they are able.

“Enabling people to stay in their own homes helps create a positive ageing experience, with people able to live in their communities and stay out of health and residential facilities for as long as possible,” Dr Tavener says.

By including input from focus groups such as real estate agents and local council along with older people in the community, the team is anticipating that the project will help older adults assess their housing needs by helping them recognise key housing features that can provide a supportive living environment.

The project will enable the team to develop an easy-to-use checklist to help reduce confusion over housing options and streamline housing choices based on real-life examples of the needs and expectations of older people to empower them to make informed decisions on how to best meet their housing needs in the future.

The grant was presented to the team on May 8, 2017 by the Hon Tanya Davies at The University of Newcastle.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.