Australia is experiencing a significant demographic shift – the proportion of the population that is aged 65 years and older is increasing substantially and will continue to do so. With this shift comes particular housing challenges for older people. The Australian Dream examines the impacts of housing tenure on older Australians who are solely or primarily dependent on the age pension for their income. Drawing on 125 in-depth interviews, it compares the life circumstances of older social housing tenants, private renters and homeowners – their capacity to pay for their accommodation, how this cost impacts on their ability to lead a decent life, maintain social ties and pursue leisure activities, and how their housing situation affects their health and wellbeing.
The book considers some key questions: Are older homeowners who are solely dependent on the single age pension managing financially? Are they able to maintain their homes and engage in social activity? How are older private renters who have to pay market rents faring in comparison with older homeowners and social housing tenants? What are the implications of subsidised rents and legally guaranteed security of tenure for older social housing tenants?
Based on a study conducted in Sydney and regional New South Wales, this pioneering research starkly and powerfully reveals the fundamental role that affordable, adequate and secure housing plays in creating a foundation for a decent life for older Australians.