Marianne Granbom, Björn Slaug, Charlotte Löfqvist, Frank Oswald, Susanne Iwarsson; Community Relocation in Very Old Age: Changes in Housing Accessibility. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(2):7002270020. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.016147
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. The objective of this study was to compare environmental barriers, housing accessibility, and usability before and after relocation of very old, single-living people in the community. It also examined whether accessibility improved after relocation compared with a simulated scenario in which participants would have remained in their former dwellings.
METHOD. Data from the Swedish part of the longitudinal Enabling Autonomy, Participation, and Well-Being in Old Age: The Home Environment as a Determinant for Healthy Ageing database were analyzed with a before-and-after design (N = 29). Mean time from before to after data collection was 2.6 yr.
RESULTS. The number of environmental barriers was significantly reduced after relocation, especially barriers at entrances and in bathrooms. In addition, usability was stable and accessibility improved compared with the simulated scenario of remaining in the former dwelling.
CONCLUSION. Community-based moves to new dwellings may lead to fewer environmental barriers and stable levels of usability and accessibility. This relocation is a positive outcome, considering the expected functional decline in old age.
Enable older people to choose appropriate dwellings regarding accessibility and usability,
Widen the scope of housing modification services to housing counseling to support and optimize the residential decision making of older people,
Understand stable accessibility against the background of increasing functional limitations among community-living very old people as a positive outcome of relocation, and
Demonstrate the value of using standardized assessments with the capacity to analyze the personal and environmental components of accessibility to plan for efficient interventions that enhance occupational performance in the home.
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