Ageing in place and spatial sustainability. Negotiating distance in eldercare
Current Flemish policies regarding care for older people stress the need for care at home, in order to postpone as long as possible moving towards retiring homes. These policies however risk to produce counter-effects with respect to other policy domains such as spatial planning. Advocates of spatial sustainability stress the need for spatial efficiency, requiring the densification of centers, where infrastructure and amenities can be concentrated while the majority of the population could live within walking or cycling distance of these nodes. Currently however many baby boomers live in sprawled neighborhoods where facilities (shops, health care centers, etc.) are only dwindling. Their ageing in place is thus not facilitated by age-friendly neighborhood characteristics, necessitating formal and informal care networks to cope with relatively large distances. This might be at odds with the viewpoint of spatial sustainability.
This research project investigates how the negotiation of distance – physically as well as socially - plays a role in ageing-in-place. Its findings are meant to contribute to the development of a more integrated policy.