Housing Design and Community Care: How Home Modifications Reduce Care Needs of Older People and People with Disability

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jun 1;16(11):1951. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16111951.


The extent to which housing design can minimise levels of community caregiving has remained largely unmeasured. This paper reports the potential for home modifications to reduce caregiving in the peoples' homes, particularly older people and people with a disability. It contributes to new knowledge in understanding how housing can play a role in community caregiving and acknowledges the role of the built environment in managing care levels in ageing societies. This paper analyses self-reported care data from 157 Australian community care recipients (average age: 72 years) who had received home modifications within the past 6 months. A before/after comparison of care provided revealed that home modifications reduced hours of care provided by 42% per week. More detailed analysis revealed that the positive association of home modifications with care reduction is stronger with informal care (46% reduction) followed by formal care (16% reduction). These results suggest the role that home modifications, and housing design in general, play in reducing care needs in a community setting.

Keywords: accessibility; ageing; disability; formal care; home modification; housing; informal care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Caregivers
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Male