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The Examination of Older Adults' Housing Preferences

The Examination of Older Adults' Housing Preferences

Stormy Hill

Design, Housing, and Merchandising

Housing needs among the aging population has been a topic of interest since the exponential growth of aging Americans; Kerr, Rosenburg, and Frank (2012) estimate that in 2030, 20% of Americans will be sixty-five years of age or over which is one in every five Americans. In the last decade, researchers have attempted to determine what the housing needs are for older adults. In a study on relocation factors of older adults, Weeks, Keefe and MacDonald (2012) state that certain key elements, including various push and pull factors, impact an older adult’s preference and evaluation of the design of their living communities. One of the characteristics mentioned and the focus of this study is an older adult’s financial status. Although financial status or economic status had been determined as a factor in older adults’ housing preferences, there has been limited research on the relationship of said factor on the housing preference such as design of the floor plan, security, and size of the home. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between older adults' housing preferences and their economic status using their income and perceived economic stability. In addition, this study examined the relationship between older adults' housing preference and their demographics such as age and gender. A survey was administered by an employed third party survey technology company. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data collected in SPSS. The findings showed that healthy environment in the community and design of the floor plan were the two most important housing preferences regardless of income, perceived economic stability, age or gender. Multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to investigate the relationships in four independent variables: income, perceived economic stability, age and gender with the dependent variable, housing preference. It revealed that there was a statistically significant difference in housing preferences based on income, perceived economic stability and age. However, it was not statically significant for gender. Based on income, there was a statistically significant difference in preference of their community proximity to entertainment attractions. Older adults with higher income preferred communities closer in proximity to entertainment attractions. Based on perceived economic stability, there was a statistically significant difference in preference of the security of their community; community security was more important for respondents who have higher perceived economic stability. Based on age, there was a statistical significance in the preference of proximity of their community to recreational activities. Older adults whose income was higher, preferred communities in closer proximity to recreational activities. This study contributes to living community design for older adults’ relocation by understanding the housing preferences of a wide range of economic status and demographics.