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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Housing needs and preferences among senior citizens (West Vancouver) : an exploratory survey of married and single pensioners, living in various types of accommodation, in West Vancouver, 1956-7 MacKinnon, Dolina F.


Low-rent housing is only one item in the "welfare agenda" for the aged, but it is of fairly recent recognition compared with boarding homes, institutions, nursing care, et cetera. There are many causes of the heavy demand for self-contained accommodation for the able-bodied; but greater information on needs and preferences is also essential for wise planning. The present study is an exploratory sampling of the living arrangements and needs and preferences of able-bodied pensioners living in various types of accommodation in West Vancouver, a suburban community in which a small housing project has recently been built. For the purpose of this study, the individuals surveyed were divided into two groups: married couples, and single persons (women only, in the present instance). The survey was conducted by individual interviews, and some experimental questionnaires were developed. In the two main groups studied--married couples and "single" women--some significant differences were found between those who wished to remain in their present dwelling and those who wished to make a change which would be an improvement. The first group was composed mostly of homeowning couples, and single women living alone who had been in the same place for a number of years. The group who did not find their present living arrangements satisfactory was composed mostly of couples were were in rented accommodation, and single women who were living with married children. Within all groups there were many variations; but one problem which was common to all groups was insufficient financial resources. Most of those who rented accommodation were paying more than they could afford for rent. The homeowners, after paying taxes, had insufficient funds left for needed repairs and upkeep, and sometimes for necessities. Many older people were living apart from married children, although they wished to live close enough to permit visiting. Likewise, many single women who lived with married children, although their facilities were superior to those of single women living alone, nevertheless derived least satisfaction from their living arrangements. All of the older persons who wished to move regarded the accommodation in the West Vancouver Senior Citizens Housing Project as highly desirable. The main implications of the study include: the need for low-rental housing for older people; the possibilities for social work services in planning and to help the older person use the facilities when available; and the continuous relevance of public education and community organization.

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