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Chapter 11

SOC375 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Home Repair, Supportive Housing, Married People


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC375
Professor
Kwame Boadu
Chapter
11

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Chapter 11- Housing and Transportation
Intro
- A home allows older people to feel more independent; also means security, comfort, and familiarity
o Offers privacy and control
- Housing and transportation are important to quality of life
- Caada’s housig system today has many options for older people but also many gaps
o Many housing options in Canada: Some older people live in single-family homes, some in apartments,
some in supportive or enriched housing, and some with others, or in long-term care
o Kind of housing that an older person needs and can afford depends on their health, marital status,
income, and ability
- There are geographic and financial barriers to access quality housing that meets specific needs and adequate
transportation
- More than a quarter of seio households lie i elo stadad housig include poor physical conditions,
not adequate size (crowded), or not affordable
o Qualit housig depeds lagel o a peso’s ioe
- A single-family home demands good health, knowledge about home repairs, enough income to pay for heat and
taxes
An Ecological Model of Housing
- Owning a home requires the most ability to manage the environment
o Home repairs and maintenance require know-how and physical strength for this reason, couples tend
to live in single-family homes
Widowed and single older women opt for a less-demanding housing option (ex. apartments)
- Ecological model- the LawtonNahemow model of interaction between the individual and the environment that
holds that a peso’s ailit ad the deads of the eioet ifluee that peso’s life satisfatio ad
ability to function; 2 variables:
1. Individual capability (competence what they can do)
2. Demands of the environment (environmental press demands of the environment on the person)
o People feel the most comfort when their capability matches the demands of the environment and they
can fulfill their needs
Too great/little environmental demand leads to a decreased feeling of well-being and a
maladaptive response
Being competent gives one/maximizes autonomy in their decisions
o Updated person-environment model (Parmelee and Lawton):
Redefies the opetee diesio as autoo ad the eioetal pess diesio
as seuit
- Housing and transportation should maximize autonomy but provide enough security for a feeling of comfort
- Aging in place- situation of older people living into late old age in the same place they lived in their middle years
o Aging-in-plae philosoph is osistet ith olde adults’ desie to sta out of a usig home
o Mental decline, inability to drive, and or serious health problems could make aging in place a challenge
o Especially prevalent in those living in cities; older people who live in suburban settings find it more
difficult to age in place unless they have access to social services
o Current approach to housing for older people in Canada focuses on aging in place
- In Canada, current policy attempts to provide older people with environmental, social, and economic supports
so they can stay in their own homes as they age
Living Arrangements
- Olde peso’s liig aageets a ifluee thei ualit of life ad ell-being
- Living arrangements- refers to the type of household a person lives in
o Ex. living in an institution, living with a spouse, grown children, relatives or non-relatives, or living alone
o Most older Canadians (92.5%) live in private dwellings; of those, 55.2% live in single detached homes,
30.7% in apartments, and 1.4% in mobile homes
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o Proportion of people in each type of accommodation differs by age and gender
o Only 7.5% live in institutions (collective dwellings); 2-3% live with relatives or non-relatives
Collective dwellings- dwellings that include healthcare facilities (also refers to long-term care
institutions)
Those who live in institutions are generally the oldest old or have a chronic
illness/disability more likely to be women
The Decision to Live Alone
- Proportion of older people who live alone increases with age
- Women aged 75 to 84 show the greatest tendency to live alone
o 38% of seniors who live alone report trouble affording their housing; others who live alone report
health problems and isolation
o 3 things explain this trend:
Women tend to outlive men; widowed women less often remarry
Better government pension plans, subsidized housing, and community-based healthcare
supports make living alone in a private household a viable option for more women today
Change in attitudes and values the do’t want to live with children, and they like their
privacy and independence
- Intimacy at a distance- the desire of many older people to live near, but not with, their children
o Does not reflect the views of many ethno-culturally diverse older adults
- Core housing need- a person has a core housing need if the housing is too small or in poor repair, or if the
household spends more than 30% of its total income on housing
o The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation found that 14.4% of senior households had a oe
housig eed – unaffordable and crowded housing
o Explained by low income in seniors
o This need is greater for renters
- Unmarried older people have smaller support networks than married people, and they rely more on formal
healthcare services than do married couples
Types of Housing
- Single-family houses
o Most Canadian families with a head of household aged 65+ own their own homes, and majority are
mortgage-free
o Staying in their homes after they retire makes sense:
Enjoy the comfort and familiarity of their home
Selling a home may create an increase i taes eause of iease i peso’s liuid assets
Increased liquid assets may disqualify them for health and income supports
Home ownership (with a paid-up mortgage) can increase household income
Beyond financial gain, it provides an important source of well-being
o Home ownership differs across the country
NWT has the lowest proportion of seniors who own homes; Newfoundland has the highest
o Older men, more often than older women, tend to live in single-family homes; due to:
When her husband dies, woman may have less money to spend on housing
Tend to know less about how to care for a home
o Older women give up homes because of operating costs and maintenance
Many olde oe a’t affod to hie people to do the aiteae ad do ot hae
sufficient knowledge or strength to do it themselves
Cost of housing and maintenance can cause barriers for home owners
House design can be a barrier if the older person develops some functional limitations
Home Ownership
- Home ownership increases to age 50 to 59; then drops with each older age group.
- The proportion of people who rent housing shows the opposite trend
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o The proportion of renters increases from age 60+
- Still, the large majority of people aged 60+ own their own homes, and nearly all those with homes in the oldest
age groups tend to live without a mortgage (89% for those aged 70+)
o This adds to their annual income, since they live rent-free in their own homes
o Home ownership in later life makes good financial sense and as long as a person can maintain their
home, it adds to their sense of well-being
- Table reports ownership at one point in time
o In a longitudinal study, Hou found that home ownership increased over time.
o Those born in the early 1910s reached a peak ownership rate of 73%, but those born during World War
II reached an ownership rate of 78%
o Younger cohorts with high rates of home ownership could show a higher peak rate in the years ahead
Most boomers are likely to retain their houses for more than 10 years after age 65
Better health, more stable retirement income today, and longer life expectancy could mean
even higher rates of home ownership among seniors in the future
Tax and Home Maintenance Programs
- Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP)- federal government program offering forgivable loans
($16,000-$24,000) to low-income homeowners to improve run-down housing and to convert a home to a multi-
unit residence
- Hoe Adaptatios for Seiors’ Idepedece HASI- program offers forgivable loans ($3,500) for building
modifications to adapt to seios’ eeds handrails, walk-in showers, etc.)
- Programs tend to focus on the neediest cases and on people with health or safety needs
Home Adaptation
- Disabilities increase with age walking, carrying, and climbing stairs can become difficult with age
o Number of and severity of disabilities also increases with age
- Sometimes simple changes can make a difference (ex. nightlights, grab bars, non-skid steps, brighter lights,
sat deices with visual and sound cues, etc.)
o Bathroom adaptations, in particular, can maintain dignity and privacy for the older person or a person
with disabilities
- Home modification can allow people to stay in their homes into late old age increases a sense of safety,
comfort, independence, and quality of life
- Universal design- housing adaptations that serve people of all ages; designers use lever door handles, low-
threshold tubs, and temperature limits on hot water tanks to improve living for older people, as well as children
and those with disabilities
o Most common: redesigning kitchens and bathrooms
- Visitability- requires that an older resident or visitor with a disability be able to move barrier-free within the
first floor of a single-family house; 4 features:
o Zero-step entrance
o Interior doors with a minimum width of 32 inches
o An accessible route inside the house
o Half bathroom on the first floor
- FlexHousing- a housing concept that designers and builders use to make future changes in housing easy and
affordable to meet the changing needs of aging people
o Has no thresholds or steps, provides easy access to all rooms of the house, and can adapt to the needs
of a person in a wheelchair
o Details include easy-to-reach light switches and sockets, accessible furniture, non-slip flooring, and
kitchen cabinets and appliances that can move up and down as needed on a wall bracket
Reverse Mortgages
- Cash-poor seniors- a person may have $150,000 in equity in his or her home but be unable to pay the gas or
water bill
o Reverse mortgage interest can be 25-40%, and seniors can incur significant losses over time
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