Older homeless people: increasing numbers and changing needs

Crane M, Joly L

Reviews in Clinical Gerontology 2014, 24, 4: 255—268

Available online 31 Oct 2014

Abstract

Evidence from England, Australia, Canada, Japan and the USA indicates that the single homeless population is ageing, and that increasing numbers of older people are homeless. This paper reviews evidence of changes in the age structure of the single homeless population, and the factors that are likely to have had an influence on the growth of the older homeless population. In many Western cities, the housing situation of older people is changing and there is a growing reliance on the private rented sector. Unemployment is also having an impact on older people who are under the official retirement age. An increasing number of older people are experiencing problems linked to alcohol, drugs, gambling and criminality, and these are all behaviours that can contribute to homelessness. Despite high levels of morbidity and disability among older homeless people, they are a relatively neglected group and receive little attention from policy makers and mainstream aged care services.