Loneliness and housing tenure: Older private renters and social housing tenants in Australia

Publisher:
SAGE
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Andrea, 2020
Issue Date:
2020-08-28
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Loneliness is recognised as one the most pressing issues of the contemporary period and if left untreated can have serious health implications. We argue that a key determinant of loneliness for older people (65 plus) in Australia dependent on the government Age Pension for their income is their housing tenure. Drawing on over 100 in-depth interviews, we show that older Australians who are private renters are far more likely than their counterparts in social housing to experience loneliness. The high cost of their accommodation results in private renters having no resources for socialising and the possibility that they can be asked to vacate at any time evokes much anxiety. These features makes retaining social ties extremely difficult and many experience loneliness. In contrast, the manageable rent of older social housing tenants and guaranteed security of tenure generate a foundation for social engagement and maintaining strong friendships.
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