UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aging in seniors' multiple housing in the Vancouver area : a comparative study of three organizations Cairns, Joseph


The intention of this thesis is to provide observations and concepts for those persons concerned with the delivery of seniors' living arrangements, which may contribute in the planning and operation of these facilities. The thesis first looks at the topic of aging-in-place from a broad context using Lawton's ecological housing model as a framework. It consists of four separate interrelated categories: the macrosystem, the exosystem, the microsystem and the individual. At the macro level, demographic trends suggest that future needs for supportive environments will be high among the older seniors group. Assisting aging-in-place will offset increasing health care costs. At the exosystem level, remaining in one's neighbourhood is both desired by and supportive of seniors aging-in-place. Avoiding the negative effects of institutionalization further supports the argument for aging-in-place. The competence/press model is a useful means of conceptualizing changing needs of seniors as they age-in-place at the micro level. At the individual level, a typology of competencies is introduced along with a discussion on control theory. The need to provide environments which maintain and enhance all the competencies is suggested. Next, the case studies investigate whether aging-in-place in seniors' multiple housing projects is occurring and whether there are differences by building type (high/low rise) or by organization. Case studies of three seniors housing organizations are presented; New Vista Society (NVS), British Columbia Housing Foundation (BCHF), and British Columbia Housing Management Corporation (BCHMC). Data on median age of tenants, duration of stay, original to total tenants, sex distribution, age subgroups, tenant replacement rate and proportion of couples to all tenants are analysed. Case study findings indicate that the median age of tenants remained almost constant over the study period. Distinct differences in median age are evident by organization. The relationship of aging-in-place to building type is not significant, although in low rise buildings the median age was lower. Of the four key variables analysed, differences in median age of tenants by organisation are best explained by differences in median age of replacement tenants. The proportion of tenants in the older seniors age subgroup increased substantially with only small increases in median age across the six buildings studied. BCHMC had a substantially lower median age of tenants and also a much lower proportion of older seniors than the other two organizations. The evidence suggests that the differences are likely due to policies being more formally applied by BCHMC than by NVS or BCHF. The fact that there are higher median ages at NVS and BCHF, suggests that tenants could be kept longer by BCHMC. Recommendations include the utilization of an accommodating model in programming seniors housing; relaxation of BCHMC housing policy in relationship to tenant admissions and separations; standardization of record keeping by agencies responsible for the delivery of seniors living environments, and an interdisciplinary approach in the delivery of seniors living environments. The need to study where tenants move to after leaving seniors' multiple housing was identified. In closing, the merits of the Abbeyfield housing model are discussed in relation to the thesis findings. It is suggested that this model will gain in popularity in meeting the challenge of providing appropriate living environments for aging-in-place.

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