Housing choices: exploring the manufactured home and retirement village experience
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Background Whilst the majority of older Australians prefer to "age in place" in their existing homes and communities, many are choosing to relocate to retirement villages and manufactured home parks. These housing types are designed specifically to meet the needs of people as they age. With little known about the expectations and experiences of older people living in these retirement housing types, this paper explores the manufactured home and retirement village experience using two separate Queensland projects as case studies. Method Findings from two separate Queensland studies which investigated older adult's expectations and experiences of life in manufactured homes (n=71) and independent living units in retirement villages (n=323) are discussed. This paper compares and contrasts the key findings from each study, providing an overview of life in retirement and manufactured home villages. Results The different studies highlight the generally positive experiences of living in manufactured homes and retirement villages. Both studies illustrated how residents were engaged with the retirement housing lifestyle, participating in leisure events onsite and interacting with co-residents. Crucially, the manufactured home study highlighted the role of social support and reciprocity, with residents assisting each other with activities of daily living and reporting a high level of general life satisfaction. Conclusions This paper contributes to a growing literature investigating different housing options available in later life, providing policymakers, planners, service providers, families and older people themselves unique insight into daily life in manufactured homes and retirement villages. Combined, these studies suggest that social contact and reciprocity are defining characteristics of life satisfaction for the residents.
Australasian Journal on Ageing Vol 26 Supplement Edition