Enabling Long-term Predictions and Cost-benefit Analysis Related to Housing Adaptation Needs for a Population Aging in Place: Protocol for a Simulation Study

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Background: Policies that promote aging in place are common in Sweden and many other countries. However, the current housing stock cannot sufficiently accommodate a population aging in place considering how functional capacity and housing needs change as people age. To be suitable for all regardless of their functional ability, housing should be designed or adapted to facilitate the performance of activities of daily living. Long-term planning and plausible projections of development 20 to 30 years into the future are needed. Objective: The overall aim is to develop simulation models that enable long-term predictions and analysis of potential consequences in terms of societal gains and costs for different large-scale measures and interventions in the ordinary housing stock. Methods: This study is designed as a simulation study and will broadly apply health impact assessment methods in collaboration with five municipalities in Sweden. Individual interviews and research circles were used to identify current and prioritize potential new policies to improve the accessibility of the housing stock. We will run a series of simulations based on an estimated willingness to pay from discussions with the municipalities. Two to three different prioritized policies will be compared simultaneously using Markov cohort analysis to estimate the potential costs and health impact on the population. Using data from a systematic review and existing population-based data sets with individual-level data on home and health variables, we will calculate parameter estimates for the relations between housing accessibility and health outcomes. The potential impact of selected policy interventions will be estimated in several microsimulations representing people living in the community. Sensitivity analyses will be conducted for each simulation. Results: As of April 2022, open access data was collected, and a systematic review was underway and expected to be completed by November 2022. Collaboration with five municipalities was established in autumn 2020. In spring 2021, the municipalities developed a list of prioritized policy interventions to be tested and used in the simulation models. Inventories of barrier frequencies in ordinary housing started in spring 2022 and are expected to be completed in autumn 2022. Data gathering and analyses for simulation inputs will be completed during 2022 followed by the simulation modeling analyses to be completed in 2023. Conclusions: Improved accessibility of the ordinary housing stock has the potential to maintain or improve the health of the aging population. This study will generate tools that enable long-term predictions and reliable cost-benefit estimates related to the housing adaptation needs for a population aging in place, thus providing support for the best-informed policy decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere39032
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences

Free keywords

  • accessibility
  • activities of daily living
  • age-friendly housing
  • aging in place
  • demographic aging
  • functional limitations
  • housing adaptations
  • housing policies
  • person-environment fit
  • simulation models


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