Survey to gather info about housing needs of Peachland seniors

Researchers from UBC Okanagan are surveying Peachland residents next week as part of a larger study to assess seniors’ housing and service needs in their community now and in the future.

A multi-page questionnaire will soon be distributed to 360 randomly selected addresses in the District of Peachland, says Dr. Dixon Sookraj, Associate Professor of Social Work at UBC Okanagan and head of the study’s survey team.

“So far, the response to our study has been very positive. This is our 'next step' -- a survey built on input from the stages that preceded it. We strongly encourage residents who receive the questionnaire to participate,” says Dr. Sookraj. “Input gathered through the survey may one day help improve services for seniors in Peachland, but we need a high response rate to ensure that the survey results are reliable and representative of the views of the population.”

With about 25 per cent of its residents over age 65, Peachland has one of the nation’s highest proportions of older persons. The survey explores what brought people to Peachland and what factors may be most influential in keeping them here. It also asks people to look ahead and imagine what type of housing and related services they might need in the future.

“The study allows us to get behind the background statistics and demographic information to hear what stories seniors have to tell about their experience of aging in Peachland,” says Dr. Mary Ann Murphy, Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Work, and leader of the UBC Okanagan research project.

“The information we gather will help us to identify for Peachland seniors of all income levels what types of housing they currently need, as well as in the future,” she notes. “We will also learn what services and community supports would best help people stay in their own homes for as long as they choose.”

Funded by the B.C. Real Estate Foundation and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation through the Peachland Wellness Centre, UBC Okanagan researchers are working with the planning firm City Spaces to complete the study, collecting information through a variety of approaches including:

1 - Interviews with people who have left Peachland because they could not find suitable housing locally
2 - Focus group sessions with representatives from community organizations and groups
3 - Interviews with individuals and organizations who are particularly close to the problems
4 - A literature review of trends and innovations in seniors' housing.

Parts 1 through 4 of this study have contributed to the content of the survey. The researchers are also reviewing housing strategies adopted in other communities in Canada and in other countries to identify trends, innovations and best practices.

If you receive the questionnaire and have any questions or need assistance in filling it out please contact:

Mary Ann Murphy, Ph.D.
Cross-appointment on Aging, UBC Okanagan
Phone: 250.807.8705

Dixon Sookraj, Ph.D.
School of Social Work, UBC Okanagan
Phone: 250.807.8703

Keith Fielding or Barry Hewer
Peachland Wellness Centre
Phone: 250.767.0141

Mayor Graham Reid
District of Peachland
Phone: 250.767.2647

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