The Atlantic Seniors Housing Research Alliance

A Report to the Board of Directors

St. John’s-Avalon Chapter of CARP

The Atlantic Seniors Housing Research Alliance (ASHRA) was formed through funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The purpose of the project was to answer two primary questions:

(1) What will the housing needs of aging Atlantic Canadians be over the next twenty years?

(2) What housing options need to be developed to meet these needs?

This collaborative research project involved over 75 organizations including CARP St. John’s-Avalon Chapter and five universities from the four Atlantic provinces. From 2005-09, the project determined the housing needs and choices, both existing and emerging, for our aging population. The result is policy recommendations to help satisfy the identified needs of the future.

Since its inception in December 2004, the ASHRA membership of government, community and academic partners increased from its original 37 to approximately 120 in 2009.

The ASHRA project was divided into four phases:

Phase 1: An online community profile model was developed and used to predict the housing needs of Atlantic Canadian seniors from 2006 to 2026.

Phase 2: Responses to a mail-out survey were received from approximately 1700 seniors on their housing and support services needs (Fall 2006-Spring 2007). This was followed in the spring of 2007 by conducting fifteen Focus Groups to discuss these same issues with seniors who may have been under-represented in the survey.

Phase 3: The information obtained from the survey was compiled into the “Report on the Atlantic Senior’s Housing and Support Services Survey” which was released in November, 2007. A Focus group Report was also completed as well as case studies on seniors’ communities in England, Denmark and the United States. Phase 3 which concluded in June 2008, also included the development of a knowledge transfer plan and policy data analysis.

Phase 4: The focus was on the distribution of the research findings in Phases 1-3. The completion of the project was marked with the Atlantic Seniors Housing Needs Conference held at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, May 27- 29 , 2009

Some results from the survey of 1702 seniors in Atlantic Canada:

* 53 percent have lived in the same community and house for over 35 years; 16 percent for over 45 years;

* 76 percent live in single family homes of which twenty percent were constructed before 1946.

* 70 percent live in non-urban locations;

* 34 percent moved to their current location to be closer to family and friends;

* support services for seniors were provided mainly by family members;

* 31 percent have made dwelling modifications to improve accessibility; another 23 percent have considered making changes;

* over 50 percent indicated that their homes need major repairs, particularly to increase energy efficiency;

* a majority are willing to pay for services that will permit them to age in place;

* 10 percent have moved in the last three years; the average number of moves after the age of 65 is three – retirement home, assisted living, nursing home;