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Housing for Older Adults: A Personal Journey in Environmental Gerontology

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Personal experiences, observations, and empathy have often been my touchstones to identify problems and solutions in Environmental Gerontology. I have been influenced by the lives of people who I have known, places I have visited, and colleagues (including my wife Elyse Salend) with whom I have worked over the years. As a second generation researcher in the field, I have been fortunate to have known the pioneers who were generous with their time and supportive of my efforts. Several approaches underlie my work. First, as a result of growing up in the 1960s, I have been committed to social justice. Second, my research is translational in that it has attempted to impact policy, programs, and practices. Third, the inherent complexity of societal issues on which I have focused (e.g., housing, aging in place, long-term care, fall prevention, age-friendly communities) has led to my collaborating with colleagues from many disciplines. Fourth, context matters as history, values, people, and politics play a large role in shaping the built environment. Fifth, research in other countries has broadened my perspective and enriched my life. At the core of my concerns has been the disconnect between housing and long-term care that makes it difficult to support older frail persons who want to age in place. The lack of essential housing features and services disproportionally affect those with low incomes who have had limited housing choices. Aided by grants, I have analyzed a wide range of housing options, explored many facets of supportive housing, and honed in on home modifications. An integral part of my career has been teaching, mentoring others, applying lessons I have learned to my own environment, and advocating for better policies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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