Home investments and ageing-in-place: comparing policy contexts and household practices in the UK and the Netherlands

Project lead: Louise Overton

Part of the CHASM International Visiting Research Fellowship Scheme, the goal of this collaborative project is to establish a comparative line of research focused on the relationship between changing social care policy contexts and elderly home investment practices in the UK and the Netherlands.

The project will analyze the content and discourse of policy documents focused on the restructuring of social care in old age in the two countries. Further, a literature review on the relationship between aging in place and home improvements / adaptations will be conducted, and two datasets of qualitative interviews from UK and the Netherlands will be analyzed with the goal of understanding household practices.

Research objectives

The aim of this collaboration is to develop a comparative framework for analyzing the relationship between social care reforms and older households’ home investment practices, to contribute a critical perspective on aging in place to current social care debates. Our research will address the following questions:

  • How are responsibilities for care and aging in place framed in the context of policy reforms in the UK and the Netherlands?
  • How are these responsibilities understood and carried out in practices of home improvement among elderly households?

Research team

  • Louise Overton, University of Birmingham
  • Oana Druta, Eindhoven University of Technology

Outputs and impact

The research will culminate in:

  • A comparative policy analysis paper in the Journal of European Public Policy.
  • A CHASM seminar presentation on: ‘Housing assets and intergenerational responsibilities’ building on both Oana’s previous work on support for young adults’ homeownership as well as current work on aging and home investments.
  • A policy brief analyzing social care reforms in the Netherlands and the UK.

CHASM International Fellow Scheme collaboration

Louise Overton offers an account of the collaboration:

I was very pleased to work with Dr Oana Druta, from Eindhoven University of Technology, in The Netherlands, as part of this year’s CHASM International Fellows Scheme.

Dr Druta and I began our preparation and analysis for an article which will be submitted to the journal: Policy and Politics, on the changing role of housing to support ‘Ageing in Place’ in the Netherlands and the UK. We are analysing key health, social care and housing policy documents over a ten year period in the two countries, to map the changes, identify the assumptions underpinning this policy shift, and to offer a critical reflection on these assumptions using existing evidence on older people’s experiences, attitudes and practices.

We have made plans for ongoing collaborative work, including a special issue to the European Journal of Housing Policy on ‘Housing, ageing and wellbeing’, and further research work in this area.

Dr Cook and Dr Druta delivered a joint CHASM seminar while they were here on the theme ‘Shifting responsibilities: homeownership and life-course transitions in a comparative perspective’ which was very well attended and prompted interesting and stimulating discussion from the audience.

It was my pleasure to host Oana, and I very much look forward to our ongoing and future work together.