Forms of service integrated housing- such as retirement villages - have been developed by the community and private sectors to provide housing, support and care for older people in Australia. Is there a need for a more hands-on role for government in directing, shaping and expanding service integrated housing?
• Service integrated housing (SIH) is a new term developed in this research to cover all forms of housing for people in later life where the housing provider deliberately makes available or arranges for one or more types of support and care services to be delivered in conjunction with the housing provision.
• SIH is identified as a third component of aged care in Australia, intermediate between community care and residential care, and overlapping with both these components.
• Retirement villages are the main form of SIH in Australia. At the 2006 Census, some 130 000 older Australians lived in retirement villages, and when other forms of SIH are added, the scale of SIH is comparable to residential aged care (with 167 000 residents as of 2006).
• SIH is becoming more diverse with the development of assisted living apartments and innovative approaches to integrating services with housing for older people at risk of homelessness or insecurely housed.
• Development of SIH over the last 25 years has been shaped largely by providers’ decisions in response to consumer demand, with only limited direct influence from government policy.
• Current initiatives to expand the supply of affordable housing in Australia, such as the National Affordable Rental Scheme, present opportunities for increasing access to SIH for lower income, low wealth older renters and others whose needs are not well met through general programs.
Authors: Professor Andrew Jones, Dr Anna Howe, Associate Professor Cheryl Tilse, Professor Helen Bartlett and Professor Robert Stimson, AHURI Queensland Research Centre