Exploring the relationship between social isolation, loneliness and housing
thesisposted on 25.05.2021, 07:14 by Jennifer L. Wardle
A significant demographic shift is underway in Canada. The aging of the population, which is expected to accelerate over the next two decades, is anticipated to create new issues and challenges for planners and policy makers. Issues of social isolation and loneliness have long been recognized as problems that affect seniors. Both social isolation and loneliness have been associated with significant implications for health and well-being, yet these issues have largely been discussed only in the field of gerontology and health. This paper explores the relationships between social isolation, loneliness and housing. Key themes identified in the literature on social isolation and loneliness are used to inform a discussion on the potential for housing to help alleviate these problems. Four housing options, cohousing, congregate housing, home sharing and garden suites are presented. Each option presents a number of opportunities for greater socialization and companionship; however, each is similarly faced with a number of challenges. Despite the potential for these options to help reduce or alleviate these problems, none of the options presents a 'magic bullet' solution. Addressing social isolation and loneliness remains an extremely challenging problem for planning and greater research is needed to address the gaps in the literature.