Older people’s housing experiences during COVID-19 response

Older people’s homes provide safety, security, and wellbeing – ideally with care and support to assist ageing in place. During the COVID-19 pandemic response at levels 3 (restrictions) and 4 (lockdown), the home-based bubble became the first line of protection and defence against the virus and was crucial to people’s ability to physically distance, quarantine, or isolate as required, as well as allowing them to continue to give and receive care and support.

During this time, the home’s ability to support older people was especially critical with issues such as food security and accessing home-based care services being tested. A new research bulletin by Building Better researcher Dr Bev James from the Homes and Spaces for Generations team draws out key issues from interviews with fifteen community organisations and housing providers in eight locations throughout the country providing essential services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“The idea was to find out about seniors’ housing-related experiences over level 4 and level 3 that organisations saw through their work with older people in their communities,” says Bev.

“The main issues various organisations identified for older people during the pandemic response were food security – actually being able to get their groceries; getting access to home-based care services they required; accessing information that might only have been available in digital form; and coping in different living environments.”

Both community organisations and housing providers noted that the lockdown gave them a better understanding of seniors in their communities who need support, and the services available to provide that support.

Some community organisations have developed new ways of communicating with seniors and expanded existing channels in response to the limitations observed during the COVID-19 response. Housing providers have developed new management and tenancy support practices, or re-designed existing practices to meet residents’ needs during lockdown and since.

Read the research bulletin:

James, B. (2020). Housing as the base for care and support: Older people’s housing experiences during Covid-19. Research Bulletin, 29 June 2020, for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Homes and Spaces for Generations: Affordable Housing for Generations, 6pgs. Wellington: BBHTC.

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Date posted: 22 September 2020