What features older women need in housing

This summary is based on consultation with older women which informed our submission to the Productivity Commission’s Review of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement in May 2022.

Safe, which to us means:

  • physically safe structure where we can ‘age in place’ with appropriate Gold Standard design to minimise risk of accidents, and scope for easy adaptations to accommodate changes in mobility, health and support needs. This will prevent or delay the need to move to a care home as mobility changes.
  • a building which is secure and regularly maintained.
  • having control over who can enter or impact our home.
  • a safe living environment where mental wellbeing and physical health is not compromised by disruptive neighbours or behaviours.
  • somewhere to feel peaceful and not have trauma re-triggered.

Secure, which to us means:

  • a secure long-term tenancy, ideally for as long as we want to stay, with no threat of unaffordable rent rises, or eviction for no good reason.
  • being able to remain in our community to maintain our connections.

Affordable, which to us means:

  • ability to afford to live in the home and maintain it for as long we wish to live there.
  • housing costs are never more than 30% of our income. For those on Jobseeker, a maximum of 25% would make it easier to also pay for essential food, travel and health costs.

Amenable, which to us means:

  • self-contained personal space with kitchen and bathroom and access to outdoor green space where possible.
  • energy efficiency, with natural heating and cooling built into the design to minimise ongoing costs
  • ease of access, including public transport, to goods and services and community connections to meet our social, recreational, spiritual, health and well-being needs.
  • sustainable universal design principles for ageing in place.
  • some women would love to be able to have a pet for company and mental wellbeing.
  • some women need space to be able to pursue interests and hobbies, accommodate a grandchild, guest and/or carer, prepare a meal for their family etc. Studios are generally too small to accommodate these needs.