Stefanie Buckner is a Research Associate with a focus on ageing well, and place-based approaches to population health and wellbeing. Her specific interests include Age-Friendly and Dementia Friendly Communities and their evaluation, the social value of age-friendly interventions, welfare and inequalities in later life, and the involvement of members of the public in research.
Dr Buckner has been leading and co-leading current and recent research on
• rehousing programmes for older social housing tenants
• the Social Return on Investment of Age-Friendly initiatives
• the effectiveness of place-based public health interventions in resource-constrained circumstances
• the potential of Neighbourhood Planning to create Age-Friendly rural communities
Further projects that Dr Buckner has been involved in include a national evaluation of Dementia Friendly Communities; the development of evaluation resources for Age-Friendly Communities; a study on welfare benefits in relation to loneliness and wellbeing in older age; and research into inequitable access to public health and healthcare interventions for older people.
Dr Buckner hold a PhD in Psychosocial Studies from the University of Central Lancashire on older people’s experiences of urban regeneration.
Age-friendly rehousing – what can we learn from the experiences of older adults?
Stefanie Buckner, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
A central aspect of living well in later life is an appropriate home. In the UK, as in other countries, substantial numbers of older adults live in socially supported housing. These rented homes do not always meet the needs and preferences of their older tenants. Rehousing schemes in the social housing sector offer a potential approach to ensuring that older adults live in suitable accommodation. This paper is based on a UK study (01/2020-03/2022) of four rehousing schemes in an area of London/UK that support older (aged 55+ years) social housing tenants to move to more appropriate homes. It focuses on their age-friendliness through the lens of the experiences of older adults who have moved under these schemes. Health-related processes and outcomes are reported.
A mixed methods design entailed a scoping review, based on a search of scientific databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, CINAHL, PsychINFO) and the grey literature, and a narrative synthesis of results. Interviews with practice-based stakeholders across sectors (n=14) were conducted. Questionnaires were sent to older social housing tenants who had moved through a rehousing scheme (n=790). Responses were analysed in Excel and generated descriptive statistics and themes for qualitative exploration. A Photovoice component, designed to capture in depth the rehousing experience of 16 of the survey participants and its effects, entailed interviews and focus groups to explore photographs taken by the participants. Also included in the study design were interviews (n=5) and a focus group with older social housing tenants who had registered an interest in being rehoused, but ultimately opted against moving (‘non-movers’). All qualitative data are analysed thematically in NVivo12.
The review yielded two peer-reviewed papers and ten reports from the grey literature, revealing a gap in knowledge around the health-related impacts of rehousing older social housing tenants. Interviews with practice-based stakeholders highlighted promising approaches in the rehousing schemes, such as the provision of highly personalised support to older adults going through the rehousing process. At the same time, they drew attention to challenges, including various discrepancies between tenant preferences and the new homes on offer to them. The survey with older tenants yielded 62 valid responses (8.1%). As well as helpful elements (e.g. being given housing choices) and challenges (e.g. poor communication with agencies involved in their moves) in the rehousing process, it identified welcome (e.g. a warmer home) and unwelcome (e.g. loneliness) health and wellbeing outcomes. Analysis of the data from the Photovoice components and data collection with non-movers is still underway, with preliminary findings highlighting important aspects of the rehousing process and significant impacts. It will provide detailed insights that will supplement the findings from the other methods. The results will be illustrated with photographs taken by the participants.
The study has generated insights that can inform efforts by social housing providers to improve rehousing schemes for older tenants, ensuring their age-friendliness and optimising their health-related effects. Channels through which findings will be shared with decision makers and the public include a national workshop and a photo exhibition.