Relationship between type of housing for the elderly and utilization of in-home support services

Barbara H Rinehart, Fordham University


Increasing numbers of older adults in our society have created a demand for a range of options to support independent living in local communities. Attention has focused on services to address the changing needs of an increasing elderly population--especially housing and in-home support services. To address this area of concern, two groups of urban elderly living in different types of housing were compared with respect to their patterns of service utilization. Both groups represent relatively independent older people who are connected to the support service system, i.e., senior housing or senior centers. One group was randomly selected from persons living in age segregated subsidized housing with a physical environment designed for aging individuals. The second group, drawn from senior center membership, represents a self-selected group of residents who live in age integrated housing. A modified version of the Andersen-Newman model (1973) was used to organize the variables with type of housing listed as a separate category. In this study sample, people in specialized senior housing are older, poorer, more functionally disabled and are more likely to have Medicaid health insurance. In both groups, level of need is the strongest predictor of both formal and informal service use. However, even with all the need enabling and predisposing variables controlled, housing type still makes an independent contribution in explaining patterns of service utilization. Residents living in specialized senior housing are more likely to use more in-home services, both formal and informal. Reasons why seniors living in specialized senior housing use more services can only be speculated upon at this time. They may be psychologically more ready to seek formal in-home services because they have already chosen to live in senior housing or they may already be better connected to the service system. It is hoped that the emergence of senior housing as a significant predictor of formal in-home services in this study will encourage future researchers to further explore the role of different types of housing with respect to patterns of service utilization.

Subject Area

Gerontology|Social work|Welfare

Recommended Citation

Rinehart, Barbara H, "Relationship between type of housing for the elderly and utilization of in-home support services" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9817733.