CHAPTER 2REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Chapter 2 documents the literature addressing older adult housing concepts, theoretical perspectives of successful aging and rural/urban differences. The chapter concludes with acomprehensive review of a few selected research studies.Introduction"Home Sweet Home!" It is a term and a concept easily taken for granted; few would findfault with the sentiment it expresses. However, if thoughtfully addressed to the needs of anaging society, it begins to take on far greater significance. For hidden deep in this simpleclichÈ are implications of comfort, security, family, friendships, happiness, andindependence.In 1993 approximately 30 percent of all non-institutionalized older adults lived alone.However, the percentage of women living alone was substantially higher than that of men; 43 percent of women as compared to 18 percent of men. Even more significant perhaps is thefact that the number of older persons living alone increased by 68 percent between 1970 and1994, about one and one-half times the growth rate for the older population in general (AARP& AoA, 1994).In recent years, the focus in the area of housing for older adults has been on maintaining whatalready exists and to make better use of existing housing resources through home-sharing,accessory apartments, and home equity conversions. The trend was to meet older people'shousing needs through adapting existing communities and neighborhoods rather than throughexpensive housing programs (Newcomer, Lawton & Byerts, 1986).The lack of adequate, affordable housing is a serious problem for the older adult, particularlythose who live in rural areas (Rowles, 1984). Census data indicates that 44 percent of the sub-standard housing in rural America is occupied by persons 65 years of age and older. Inaddition, at least 60 percent of older persons living in rural communities occupy homes thatwere built prior to 1920 (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census, U.S. Departmentof Housing and Urban Development, 1991).The housing requirement for older adults, in general, are significantly different than youngadults, due to the progressive limitations of the mobility, physical, social, and mentalcharacteristics of older adults over time (Golant, 1992). This creates seemingly contradictoryneeds and demands, with the ability to maintain an active life. Cooperative housing is analternative for older adults who need and want comfort, security, family, friendships,happiness, and independence.Older adults who move gracefully to retirement communities tend to be pragmatic plannerswho see the change as a necessary new beginning (Blank, 1988; Brand & Smith, 1974).Much of the following review of literature relating to the "whys" older adults move tocommunities boasting of better retirement characteristics support the theory that older adultswant to make their own decisions, relieve their relatives of responsibility and eliminate worryabout future health and home care. Consequently, they reap new freedom to pursue activitiesthey love, new friends and often better health (Bull, 1993).Theorist Ponsioen (1962) suggests that a society's first responsibility is to meet the basicsurvival needs of its members, including biological, social, emotional, and spiritualcomponents. Each society, or the dominant group in each society, identifies a quality of lifelevel below which no individual or group should fall. These levels will change over time.Within this framework, social needs exist when some communities have a service or opportunity while other communities do not.