Cassie Mason

Housing older Australians: wants, needs and innovative inclusive approaches

Presenters: Cassie Mason, South Australian Office for Ageing Well and Guy Turnbull, Architect

Oral Presentation

Unmet demand for appropriate, accessible and affordable housing for the large emerging cohort of older Australians is increasing due to inadequate supply, reduction in homeownership among older adults, growing need for universal design features, and a preference for ageing-in-place. Exploring innovative and inclusive housing models for people as they age is critical.

While the raw numbers of housing options for older people may be rising, e.g. retirement villages, many options are marketed on a full cost-recovery basis, requiring considerable entry capital and restricting future flexibility for residents. Affordable housing options are frequently located on urban fringes with concomitant disadvantages e.g. lack of proximity to services. Better located or universally designed housing suitable for ageing-in-place is in low supply and unaffordable for all but the relatively wealthy.

A brief review of the housing issues facing older people will be presented. The implications of these issues will then be explored – for governments, the housing industry, service providers and older people themselves. Finally – and importantly – this will be followed by an informed collaborative discussion about potential solutions. The presentation will: stimulate discussion in this space;  Influence and prompt policy which enables and promotes appropriate residential models;  Influence residential design, funding and delivery approaches;  Stimulate people to think more holistically outside their area of specialty; and lead to further collaborative projects that increase knowledge and improve housing for older people. Co-authored with Victoria Cornell.