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Community and ageing

Community and ageing: Maintaining quality of life in housing with care settings

Simon Evans
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  • Book Info
    Community and ageing
    Book Description:

    Specialist forms of housing with care are becoming increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, largely as a result of the ageing of the population and the relative wealth of the latest generation of older people. Retirement villages and extra care housing are two models of provision that have seen particularly spectacular growth. This is partly because in many ways they are perceived to promote government agendas for increasing independence and wellbeing for older people. They also aim to meet older people's aspirations for a good quality of life in their retirement years and to live somewhere they feel they belong. Many such housing developments are marketed as 'communities of like minded people', offering security, peace of mind, a range of facilities and new opportunities for friendship and social interaction. This important book investigates changing concepts and experiences of community across the lifecourse and into older age and how they play out in housing with care settings. An overview of how the housing with care sector has developed, both in the UK and internationally, is provided. The book emphasizes the central importance of a sense of community for older people's quality of life and explores the impact of a range of factors including social networks, inclusive activities, diversity and the built environment. The book will be of particular interest to students in the fields of gerontology, social policy, housing, planning, the built environment and community development. It will also appeal to academics, policy makers, practitioners, service providers and researchers, both in the UK and other countries with similar housing with care options, including the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-732-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. List of tables, boxes and photos
    (pp. iv-iv)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. vi-vi)
    Judith Phillips

    The study of ageing is continuing to increase rapidly across multiple disciplines. Consequently students, academics, professionals and policy makers need texts on the latest research, theory, policy and practice developments in the field. With new areas of interest in mid- and later life opening up, the series bridges the gaps in the literature as well as providing cutting-edge debate on new and traditional areas of ageing within a lifecourse perspective. Taking this approach, the series addresses ‘ageing’ (rather than gerontology or ‘old age’) providing coverage of mid- as well as later life; it promotes a critical perspective and focuses on...

  3. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Since the last decade of the 20th century there has been a transformation of the UK retirement housing sector. This is due to a range of factors, including the ageing of the population, increased wealth, greater social mobility and the emergence of an increasingly long post-retirement period, often referred to as the ‘third age’. It has also been widely observed that people’s expectations for later life have changed considerably, leading to aspirations for a more active and leisure-based retirement lifestyle. Many older people have seen their housing environment as an important element in achieving these goals. As a result, two...

  4. TWO What is community?
    (pp. 7-20)

    The concept of ‘community’ has always featured strongly in the development of culture and society. Many writers have lamented the passing of the ‘idyllic’ rural-style community and its replacement with the discord and divisions that are perceived to be prevalent in present-day urban living. This chapter explores definitions and theories of community and how they have changed. For example, while early commentators focused on the role of place in a sense of community, some theorists now see communities of interest as more predominant and suggest that kinship has become less important than broader social networks. At the same time, strong...

  5. THREE Community and ageing
    (pp. 21-30)

    This chapter focuses on how ideas and experiences of community change across the lifecourse and explores what current and future cohorts of retirees might want from their neighbourhood environment. Length of residence has often been closely linked with a sense of community and continuity of identity. However, a range of societal changes such as globalisation, increased mobility (social, geographical and occupational) and weakening intergenerational links are having an effect on the meaning and role of community. This chapter first explores how these changes affect older people. I suggest that community continues to be important, but that dissatisfaction with the extent...

  6. FOUR Housing with care communities in the UK
    (pp. 31-58)

    Providing sufficient housing for older people has become a policy priority in recent years, largely as a result of the rapid ageing of the population. The figures have been frequently quoted but they are worth summarising here because of their importance for the provision of both housing and care.

    The UK population aged over 65 grew by 31% from 7.4 million to 9.7 million between 1971 and 2006, while the number of people aged 85 and over grew by 69,000 from 2005 to 2006, reaching a record 1.2 million.

    The fastest-growing age group in the population is that of those...

  7. FIVE An international perspective on retirement villages
    (pp. 59-70)

    The first retirement villages were probably established in European countries for Roman soldiers who were no longer in peak fighting form and would therefore have swelled the ranks of the unemployed if they returned home. Much later the idea was resurrected in Europe in the form of housing schemes, often with connections to religion, that aimed to provide shelter and care for the aged. The concept spread to the US in the early 1900s, where their numbers grew along with the size of the older population and by 2001 there were around 2,000 retirement villages in the US, where they...

  8. SIX Promoting a sense of community in housing with care settings
    (pp. 71-92)

    Some forms of housing with care, particularly extra care housing and retirement villages, are marketed as communities for older people who have similar interests and lifestyles. This kind of marketing aims to appeal to older people’s aspirations for community living and the fact that many feel alienated from a youth-focused society that sees ageing as a burden and places little value on the contribution that older people can make to society. There is no doubt that such settings are becoming increasingly popular and the evidence suggests that a sense of community is one of the main factors in choosing retirement...

  9. SEVEN Diversity, community and social interaction
    (pp. 93-108)

    Retirement villages are widely marketed as ‘communities’ for people from similar backgrounds who aspire to similar lifestyles. For example, Roseland Parc in Cornwall, England, tempts potential buyers with the promise that ‘The village community atmosphere will allow you to forge new friendships with like-minded people who share your interests, your joys and your challenges in life’.¹ This emphasis on sameness is even more pronounced in the US, where retirement housing schemes are frequently based around a common interest in golf or other leisure activities. Diversity is seldom trumpeted as a selling point, although extra care housing is often more open...

  10. EIGHT Changing communities and older people
    (pp. 109-124)

    The social and economic structure of local communities in Britain has changed considerably in recent decades, particularly in terms of the closure of services and facilities that have traditionally been at their centre, such as post offices, banks and local shops. These changes affect us all, but they are particularly significant for older people, many of whom spend more time in their neighbourhoods as they grow older and often find themselves facing reduced mobility, poorer health, decreasing incomes and limited opportunities for social interaction. This chapter considers how communities have changed for older people and how they might continue to...

  11. NINE Conclusion
    (pp. 125-134)

    Retirement housing settings are successful as neighbourhoods designed specifically for older people. They offer age-friendly design and opportunities for social interaction within clear physical boundaries, focusing on similarities and exclusivity rather than diversity and wider integration. The fact that they are specifically age limited contributes to their cohesiveness as neighbourhoods, but it also means that they are not compatible with creating diverse and mixed communities. Ultimately, whether we call them neighbourhoods or communities is immaterial to the people who live in them. All the evidence suggests that a sense of community belonging is important to older people in particular and...