November 10, 2016

BC Seniors' Survey: 11% Plan to Modify Their Homes

A recent seniors’ survey was conducted in British Columbia to learn more about their preferences for types of housing and related supports. It provides insight into how an aging population will affect housing supply, and what solutions might be appropriate.

Current Housing Type and Ownership Can Affect Future Housing Considerations

For many of the seniors surveyed (especially those under 75), their current housing situation seems to have some bearing on their future housing intentions. For example, if they live in a single family home now, they may see themselves staying or moving to the same in the future.

Intentions to Not Modify Existing Housing are Fairly Firm

BC seniors who currently do not live in accessible housing are fairly certain they will not make the necessary modifications. Half of the survey respondents say their homes would be difficult to get around for someone with a mobility issue, but three-quarters would not modify their existing house.

Younger Seniors are in a Transition Stage

The younger senior respondents (especially those between 65 and 74) are the most likely to predict that they will move within the next five years. Seniors 75 and older have likely already made their ‘retirement’ move.

Implications for the Housing Industry

Seniors cited the difficulty of making accessibility modifications and the cost involved as the main reasons for not renovating. This underlines the benefits of adaptable homes. Integrating accessibility at the design stage and “roughing in” for future structural changes at the time of construction are the most cost-effective ways to allow homeowners to age in place.

Despite the obstacles, 11% of seniors and near-seniors anticipate modifying their homes to make them easier to navigate. This may present opportunities for renovators with specialized knowledge of accessibility renovation.

Read the full Research Insight (PDF)



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