A new book co-authored by a UNSW expert calls for ageing in place to be put higher on the government agenda, and says Australia should look to countries like Japan as an example.

Emeritus Professor Bruce Judd

Ageing in Place: Design, Planning and Policy Response in the Western Asia Pacific, was released this month.

The book looks at ageing in place in built environments in Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia and NZ.

It argues for better housing design and urban planning to accommodate the needs of older people, as well as better access to care services in the home and community.

Emeritus Professor Bruce Judd from the UNSW Futures Research Centre says older people prefer to age at home and ageing in place has health and wellbeing benefits.

With an ageing population, providing support to age in place needs to become a government priority, he says.

“It won’t be feasible for the existing residential aged care sector to handle the demand,” Professor Judd says. 

“If you ask older people, it’s clear they wish to remain both independent and actively connected to their communities in their later years for as long as possible. Ageing in place is an option that supports such outcomes.”

He says consideration of the built environment is crucial to support ageing in place.

“There’s not enough happening on the ground when it comes to how built environment policy, in particular, supports the participation and wellbeing of older people to age in place,” he says. 

Adjunct Senior Research Fellow Dr Edgar Liu from Kyushu University many homes in Japan aren’t age-friendly.

However considerable investments have been made towards enabling ageing in place that have reduced the need for institutional aged care. 

“They’ve had to do a lot of innovative things with policy, community care, experimenting with housing design…and exploring possibilities around robotics in the growing sector of e-care,” he says.

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