Older People and Housing: Towards a Wiser Community

The New Age of Ageing, identified the ways in which older people are viewed in society. Better ways of approaching social and economic issues, challenging ageist stereotypes and embracing age-integration that will benefit everyone, need to be adopted. People want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible; being sites of comfort, familiarity, belonging and security. The authors question the notion that segregated housing for older people – retirement villages, sheltered communities, even gated arrangements – can be a major part of the solution to the housing crisis. Everyone misses out on the benefits of older people’s participation within communities when older people are separated. The concepts of age-friendly and dementia-friendly communities are already established. The authors take these concepts further to promote the ideal of wise communities. Wisdom, defined as reflection on experience to draw out overarching insights and learning, is found in people of all ages. Communities can be wise in the sense that they develop conditions and processes that promote the wellbeing of all members, whatever their age, through active participation.