Imagine living most of your adult life in the comfort of the same dwelling and community only to face the possibility of having to move.
This is the difficult situation many Atlantic Canadian seniors are experiencing according the results of a new survey released in St. John’s Nov. 8 by the Atlantic Seniors Housing Research Alliance (ASHRA).
The Seniors’ Housing and Support Services Survey found that the majority of respondents (53 per cent) have lived over 35 years in the same place with many reporting no immediate plans to move. One in five reported spending 40 per cent or more of their income on their dwelling, putting them at risk of affordability problems, and many revealed safety concerns and the need for modifications to their current dwelling.
“Complex factors such as independence, affordability, suitability, health, transportation and, of course, the attachment one develops to their home over time, are all at play when our seniors are considering their current housing circumstances,” said Dr. Donald Shiner, associate professor at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) and principal investigator in the project.
“The survey provides a comprehensive overview of seniors’ current housing needs and identifies the gaps that need to be addressed as our population continues to age.”
The survey involved the participation of 1,702 seniors from across Atlantic Canada who were asked detailed questions about their current housing situation, community supports and future plans and expectations.
“Through a collaborative and proactive approach, this project is anticipating some of the significant social changes Atlantic Canadians will face as our population continues to age,” said Dr. Patrick Parfrey, lead investigator for the project at Memorial University. “This research will bring about increased awareness and understanding of what the region can do to ensure accessible seniors’ housing and services into the future.”
The survey was conducted as the second phase of a five-year, four-part research project entitled Projecting the Housing Needs of Atlantic Canadians. The research will result in policy recommendations that will be used to assist government decision makers, housing developers and community organizations in designing and planning for seniors’ housing needs over the next 20 years.
Funding for the project comes from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada – Community-University Research Alliance (CURA), the Government of Nova Scotia, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Dalhousie University, the University of Prince Edward Island, Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of New Brunswick and MSVU.