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Social and psychological considerations, not merely practical or economic considerations, among the key factors influencing housing decisions made by older adults

Roy N, Dube R, Despres C, et al.  Choosing between staying at home or moving: A systematic review of factors influencing housing decisions among frail older adults  PLoS ONE. 2018; 13(1).

Review question

•    What factors are influencing housing decisions of older adults?


      By 2050, the number of adults aged 60 years and over will nearly double, and countries in Europe and North America will see the proportion of older adults increase by 30%.

      Most older adults wish to stay at home for as long as possible, but physical disabilities and cognitive impairments may force them to face difficult housing decisions. There is a lack of relevant information to make informed, value-based housing decisions.

      This systematic review seeks to identify factors influencing housing decisions made by older adults.

How the review was done

      A detailed search of a number of electronic databases was conducted to identify relevant studies.

      Searches were conducted from database inception until the end of February 2015, using keywords such as “older adults”, “frail”, “housing decision”, “housing relocation” and “factors”. Eligible studies had to include participants aged 65 and older, and those with cognitive disabilities were excluded.

      The searches identified 761 articles and 86 studies were included for the final analysis after assessing their eligibility.

      This research was funded by the Canadian Frailty Network.


What the researchers found

      The systematic review examined potential factors influencing older adults’ housing decisions. Overall, a total of 88 factors were identified, of which 71 seem to have an influence on the housing decision-making of older adults.

      The researchers classified the 88 factors within six categories (referred as dimensions), which highlight different factors influencing housing decisions: 1) economic; 2) socio-economic and health; 3) psychological and psychosocial; 4) social; 5) built and natural environment; and 6) time and space.


      This systematic review reveals the diversity of factors influencing housing decisions made by older adults.

      These decisions are complex and multidimensional. The most important factors in the decision-making are usually social and psychological considerations, not merely practical or economic considerations.

      Having a better understanding of the range of factors influencing older adults will help family members and professionals better support them in the decision-making process.

      Several gaps in the literature were identified, mainly regarding the housing decisions of very old adults, frail older adults, and the different factors that affect renters and owners.

Related Topics


Cognitive impairment
Trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect everyday life.
Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

Related Web Resources

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