Retirement villages and land lease communities appear perfectly positioned to capture the growing number of Australians wanting to age in place, based on a new book that highlights the importance of the built environment for older populations.
‘Ageing in Place: Design, Planning and Policy Response in the Western Asia-Pacific’ looks at the growing emphasis on ageing in place in Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand and is co-edited by Emeritus Professor Bruce Judd, UNSW City Futures Research Centre and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow Dr Edgar Liu and Professor Kenichi Tanoue from Kyushu University, Japan.
Dr Liu says that single storey homes without front or back stairs, with wider passageways, strong handrails and good access to services are hard to come by in Australia, with a lack of financial support to undertake the home modifications to accommodate changing levels of mobility with age.
“From the perspective of housing design and urban planning, there just isn’t the right diversity of housing for older people, in the right locations close to retail, transport and other services, that is affordable at the moment,” he says.
The authors conclude that it won’t be feasible for the existing residential aged care sector to handle the demand.
With countries such as Japan making considerable investments towards ageing in place, will Australia follow suit?