Lack of preparation could crush older Australians’ dreams of remaining at home

New nationwide research has found that older Australians’ desire to remain living at home increases with age.


However, the majority of people have not done enough to modify their properties, creating the risk they will be forced to make unwanted accommodation decisions under duress.


Research conducted by the Global Centre for Modern Ageing (GCMA) and released this week in the report Ageing in the Right Place, An Australian Perspective found that despite wanting to stay at home, only 17% of the older Australians who were surveyed thought their home would require repairs or modifications to enable them to do so.


Even amongst those who were experiencing difficulties at home, only 40% of respondents acknowledged the need for home modifications.


The chief executive officer of the GCMA, Julianne Parkinson, said the GCMA’s national research identified an opportunity for industry to provide greater public education around home modifications to help people understand their needs, the options available to them and the processes involved before decisions are rushed or forced.


“For people who have identified the need to make changes around their home, our research identified key barriers to home modifications,including affordability and being able to find trusted builders and tradespeople,” Ms Parkinson said.


“The right industry partners could encourage earlier and more prudent conversations about home modification before an emergency arises.”


The GCMA’s research director, Stuart Smith, said older people increasingly want to remain living in their own home.


“The GCMA’s research revealed that almost two-thirds of those aged 75-plus think they will stay in their home, which is double that of the youngest cohort surveyed (55-64 years),” Dr Smith said.


“Helping people to remain independently in their homes is increasingly important. However, we know that this may not always be possible, so it is also critical to understand how ‘home’ can be created in any place of residence.”


Drawing on the Ageing in the Right Place research, the GCMA has created a House-Home-HavenTM framework, which facilitates thinking around how physical houses can be transformed into haven-like environments.


To assist in this transformation, the research identifies seven distinct needs that determine the ‘right’ place for people as their circumstances change.


The seven needs of the ‘right’ place identified are:

  • Choice
  • Safety
  • Comfort
  • Access
  • Independence
  • Connection
  • Happiness.


Dr Smith said the House-Home-Haven framework could serve as a guide for individuals and families and could also assist industry to take a more client-centric approach when developing commercially viable homes, retirement villages and aged care facilities that enable quality living and improve world standards.


He said as aged care providers addressed the need for sectoral reform in the wake of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Ageing in the Right Place research and the House-Home-Haven framework would provide a helpful insight.


With the provision of some personal information a free copy of the report may be downloaded from


4 February 2020.