Housing is one part of a person’s total ecosystem, with constant change and adaptation occurring due to both internal and external forces. The older person sits at the centre of these forces, perhaps with functional difficulties and limitations, but also with their own history and biography that makes up their sense of self, and with access to different internal and external resources that enable them to optimize enjoyment of life. The person may have different capacities and abilities, and manifest different behaviours that reflect their personality, values and motivations. However, these abilities and behaviours can also be constrained by their environment, with housing being the first layer, then the neighbourhood, and then the wider political, economic and physical environment. This presentation will examine the importance of housing within the context of these personal and wider factors, and against the changing circumstances facing women in later life. The discussion will draw from longitudinal and qualitative data provided by women in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, examining changes in women’s functional capacity and housing circumstances against a policy emphasis on “ageing in place”.
About the Speaker
As a clinical epidemiologist, Professor Byles’ interests are in risk determination, health assessment, health care use, measurement of health outcomes, and other health care evaluation. As a Gerontologist and Fellow and Life Member of the Australian Association of Gerontology, Professor Byles’ research interests in ageing include the role of health services, preventive activities, and treatments in maintaining quality of life for older people. Professor Byles is also Head of the International Longevity Centre – Australia (ILC-Aus), Chair of the International Association of Gerontology (Asia Oceania) Social Research and Planning sub-committee, and a frequent advisor to the World Health Western Pacific Region, and Department of Ageing and Lifecourse (Geneva), assisting with translation of evidence on health and ageing.