Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The objective of this study was to compare environmental barriers, housing accessibility, and usability before and after relocation of very old, single-living people in the community. It also examined whether accessibility improved after relocation compared with a simulated scenario in which participants would have remained in their former dwellings.

METHOD. Data from the Swedish part of the longitudinal Enabling Autonomy, Participation, and Well-Being in Old Age: The Home Environment as a Determinant for Healthy Ageing database were analyzed with a before-and-after design (N = 29). Mean time from before to after data collection was 2.6 yr.

RESULTS. The number of environmental barriers was significantly reduced after relocation, especially barriers at entrances and in bathrooms. In addition, usability was stable and accessibility improved compared with the simulated scenario of remaining in the former dwelling.

CONCLUSION. Community-based moves to new dwellings may lead to fewer environmental barriers and stable levels of usability and accessibility. This relocation is a positive outcome, considering the expected functional decline in old age.

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