Housing for the Elderly in Slovenia: Analysis of the Most Common Forms

Article excerpt


Housing has a number of features, both physical (size, infrastructure, etc.) and others that are more difficult to measure (location, durability and safety of use, privacy, property risks, friendships in the neighbourhood, etc.; Mandic, 1999). According to Harsman and Quigley (1991), housing thus holds the status of the most complex good, and as Mandic (2011) ascertains, this makes it impossible to capture all of its meanings in relation to an individual; Mandic also adds that this fact has already been noted by Marcuse (1987: 232), who said that "housing is more than housing." Housing is "a physical and social space controlled by individuals, who use it to express their own identity and privacy, and in which they feel safe" (Snajder, 2010: 17). As such, it is referred to as "home." Individuals' relationship to housing or their home changes with age and turns into a type of protection that is of critical importance in old age. Several types of housing are available to the elderly in Slovenia (Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs, 2007a): owner-occupied housing, rented housing, sheltered housing and eldercare facilities. According to the definition of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (2012), owner-occupied housing comprises households in which at least one member is the owner. There are several types of rented housing: non-profit, market, company and special-purpose (for the elderly). According to the 2011 register-based census, non-profit rented housing predominates in Slovenia (70%), and the share of housing specially designed for the elderly (i.e., retired people's apartments) is only 3%. Sendi et al. (2003) claim that housing for the elderly is planned to meet the needs of the elderly and is intended for those that wish to remain independent and are able to live and manage their households on their own with occasional assistance. Sheltered housing has an architectural design that is adapted to the needs of the elderly that live in their own household in an apartment building or any other type of building in a clean and peaceful area with easy access to traffic infrastructure and 24-hour-a-day institutional assistance. It is intended for the elderly that can no longer fully provide or care for themselves but can still live relatively independently. An important feature of sheltered housing is thus that it preserves all of the advantages of living in one's own home, especially independence and privacy, while offering residents the opportunity to use institutional care services (Kerbler, 2011; Real Estate Fund of Pension and Disability Insurance, 2012). Eldercare facilities are a form of institutional care for people older than sixty-five and other people that experience problems and cannot live alone due to old age, disease, personal issues and other reasons. The services offered at these facilities include all forms of assistance that legally replace or complement the functions of a home or one's own family: housing, organized meals, technical support and healthcare (Cijan et al., 2003). Life in eldercare facilities is organized in a way that provides the highest possible degree of privacy, independence and autonomy to individuals based on their psychological and physical capabilities (Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs, 2005).

This article focuses on the two most common types of housing for the elderly in Slovenia: eldercare facilities and owner-occupied housing. It presents their characteristics, critically analyzes problems connected with them and suggests possible solutions. In the discussion, it describes various options for implementing the proposed solutions that ensure suitable housing for the elderly in Slovenia in the future. In terms of methodology, this article is based on an analysis and critical evaluation of relevant research and scholarly literature, statistical data and research findings on this topic.


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