Last week, I participated in a conference hosted by the Institute for Public Policy examining the policy implications of aging. The presentation explored the implications for the housing sector, both market and non-market aspects. A key point is that most demographers highlight population trends by age group. However in housing analysis we are concerned with households rather than individuals. The profiles of households reveal a much larger and faster growing seniors proportion, which has important implications for housing requirements.

In Ontario (the focus of the conference) households headed by someone over 65 represent just under 15% of the population but when we look at households the seniors population is far more significant, 23% of all households. And this will reach 26% by 2021 (1 in every 4 households) and 34% by 2036.

With health care costs poised to explode, housing can be an important contributor to manage these costs. Investments in age appropriate housing, both through retrofit and purpose built new design, along side home based supports to facilitate independent living will be critical.

A copy of the presentation is available here

IRPP will have all presentations and a synthesis of findings from the discussion posted on their website http://irpp.org/en/research/faces-of-aging/