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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume II, Wellbeing and the Environment by Elizabeth Burton, Rachel Cooper, Cary L. Cooper

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13

The Built Housing Environment, Wellbeing, and Older People

Rachael Dutton

Accord Group

Introduction

This chapter draws on research evidence to explore the impact of the built housing environment on older people's wellbeing with insights from the U.K. context. It presents an overview of

  • important factors that affect wellbeing and how they related to housing;
  • the sorts of accommodation in which older people live and their suitability;
  • essential design features that are needed to provide accommodation that older people want and can use, and which will remain supportive as they get older;
  • approaches and standards that promote aging in place.

The focus is on mainstream and specialist housing. It does not include care and residential homes, which are generally not considered as “housing” since they do not provide self-contained accommodation, tenancy, or ownership rights.

The Importance of Older People

People continue to make significant social, community, financial, political, and economic contributions well into old age, be it as workers, volunteers, voters,1 family members, or carers (Communities and Local Government Publications [CLG], 2008). Indeed, around 12% of people of pensionable age (1.3 million) carry on in paid work, and it is estimated that over 60s in the United Kingdom contribute the equivalent of up to £50 billion per year providing unpaid family care. There is growing recognition that such contributions need to be supported through changes in attitudes, practices ...

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