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  • Author or Editor: Caroline Holland x
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Innovative approaches

The housing problems of older people in our society are highly topical because of the growing number of retired people in the population and, especially, the yet-to-come increasing number of ‘very old’ people. Government policies on the care of older people have been forthcoming from Whitehall, but the issue of housing is just beginning to be seriously addressed.

This book represents a first attempt at bringing together people from the worlds of architecture, social science and housing studies to look at the future of living environments for an ageing society. Projecting thinking into the future, it asks critical questions and attempts to provide some of the answers. It uniquely moves beyond the issues of accommodation and care to look at the wider picture of how housing can reflect the social inclusion of people as they age.

Inclusive housing in an ageing society will appeal to a wide audience - housing, health and social care workers including: housing officers, architects, planners and designers, community regeneration workers, care managers, social workers and social care assistants, registered managers and housing providers, health improvement staff and, of course, current and future generations of older people.

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The housing problems of older people in one’s society are highly topical because of the growing number of retired people in the population and, especially, the yet-to-come increasing number of ‘very old’ people. Government policies on the care of older people have been forthcoming from Whitehall, but the issue of housing is just beginning to be seriously addressed. This book represents a first attempt at bringing together people from the worlds of architecture, social science, and housing studies to look at the future of living environments for an ageing society. Projecting thinking into the future, it asks critical questions and attempts to provide some of the answers. It uniquely moves beyond the issues of accommodation and care to look at the wider picture of how housing can reflect the social inclusion of people as they age.

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The housing problems of older people in one’s society are highly topical because of the growing number of retired people in the population and, especially, the yet-to-come increasing number of ‘very old’ people. Government policies on the care of older people have been forthcoming from Whitehall, but the issue of housing is just beginning to be seriously addressed. This book represents a first attempt at bringing together people from the worlds of architecture, social science, and housing studies to look at the future of living environments for an ageing society. Projecting thinking into the future, it asks critical questions and attempts to provide some of the answers. It uniquely moves beyond the issues of accommodation and care to look at the wider picture of how housing can reflect the social inclusion of people as they age.

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Inclusive housing allows individuals to take part fully in their preferred mode of life. This chapter discusses the concept of inclusive housing: what it means, what it implies, and what it demands. With a vision of the future where desirable design features in general housing include planned accessibility and sustainability, this chapter examines inclusive housing and its application to housing the ageing society as well as the issues relating to the aspects of material and social environments, resources, technologies, and issues around choice and self-determination.

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To date, one’s thinking around ‘accommodation and care’ in later life focuses on very old people who are seen as unable to fit into mainstream housing and whose needs have been labelled as special, segregated, or separate, rather than accepting accommodation and care as part of society’s needs in general. However, at present, it is undeniable that people are becoming a part of an ageing population whose structure is changing and where there will be a great diversity of household types. This chapter explores the changing population, the type of society that is developing, how this is affecting where people live, and the experiences that many older people now face. It includes a brief discussion on population projections, geographical variations, and the changing nature of households and the social, psychological, and physiological issues relating to it.

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As people live longer, there is an increasing possibility of couples becoming separated because one partner moves into a care home. Our qualitative mixed-method pilot study in an English town involved eight married couples aged over 65 years to explore experiences and practices of couplehood in these circumstances. This article focuses on the most striking emergent element of expressed couplehood in these now challenged long-term relationships: commitment. Drawing on in-depth (biographical) individual and joint interviews, observations and emotion maps, this article explores how separation affected the couples’ current sense and enactment of commitment to the relationship. Commitment in the partnership is now often one-sided. How committed the community-living partner feels – and its enactment – is heavily shaped by the shared history of happy and unhappy periods in the relationships, current contextual constraints, and family and institutional support.

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  • To summarise key debates about authenticity and validity in social research and outline the challenges and opportunities that participatory ways of researching present to authenticity and validity

  • To contextualise these issues in the authors’ experiences conducting research with community researchers in two research projects: one about age discrimination, the other social interactions in urban public spaces

  • To discuss the impact of participatory approaches on the outcomes of the research, particularly in efforts to produce knowledge that can be claimed to be ‘valid’ and ‘authentic’

  • To reflect on the challenges involved in adequately representing the voices of the community researchers in research outputs

  • To consider implications for future collaborative research involving academic and community researchers

This chapter addresses some of the challenges of producing valid and authentic data, analysis and findings in participatory research projects involving teams of community researchers. The discussion is based upon our experiences working on two projects. One, Research on Age Discrimination (referred to as RoAD)1 was a two-year, UK-wide study that aimed to uncover evidence of age discrimination. Older people participated in a variety of ways including as diarists, panel respondents, members of discussion groups and as advisory group members. Twelve older people were also recruited and trained as paid fieldworkers and from their work several smaller, sub-projects emerged, some of which were developed and led by community researchers (Ward and Bytheway, 2008). The other, Social Interactions in Public Places (referred to as SIPP)2 was a year-long study in which 40 local people aged between 16 and 73 were recruited and trained to complete structured and ethnographic observations of social interactions in a range of public places in one British town.

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Chapter 13 tests the inclusivity of age-friendliness for the lives of older people with sight loss living within English urban and rural communities. The chapter presents findings from an in-depth study with diverse groups of older people with vision impairment to consider how their needs and aspirations can be, or are being met in relation to the development of age-friendly cities and communities. The study identifies transport and the built environment as two important areas for vision impaired older people, emphasising the significance of more inclusive design, including assistive technology and accessible street design, in facilitating social inclusion. In order to move AFCCs policies forward, the authors conclude, the approach requires recognition of the heterogeneity of the ageing population and the importance of involving people in co-design and co-production of living spaces.

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This chapter discusses age discrimination and ageism. It describes the authors’ experiences of coordinating the RoAD (Research on Age Discrimination) project. The authors recognise that this project calls into question their own identities as well as raising fundamental issues about how ‘old’ or ‘older’ is defined in the context of age discrimination. On the basis of accumulating evidence, the discussion also cautions that policies designed to tackle age discrimination could become overly associated with employment practices and a few other narrowly defined third age issues in relation to policies aimed at addressing the needs of older people experiencing health and social care problems.

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This article describes findings from a project that explored what happens to people with dementia (PWDs) following discharge from a general hospital to a residential care home. In 15 out of 109 cases referred to a hospital psychiatric liaison team, admission to a residential care home was indicated during the hospital stay. This ‘last resort’ for families, following repeated hospital admissions and a deteriorating condition, was accepted when all involved agreed that it was in the best interests of the PWDs. Four months after the move, carers reflected on their criteria for choosing the home, their expectations and whether these were met. Carers’ own wellbeing improved and their mental distress reduced as the PWDs appeared settled and safer. However, the findings suggest a continuing key role for family carers of PWDs in care homes and emphasises the need for advocacy for PWDs without such support.

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