Methods: This session includes three papers which identify promising practices for older homeless persons using a participatory approach. Promising practices are innovative solutions that have not been subject to rigorous evaluation but hold the promise of supporting aging in the right place for OPEH. The first paper describes findings from a scoping review that examined the international literature on shelter/housing models for OPEH that support aging in the right place. The second paper reports findings from a three-city environmental scan conducted in Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver that identified promising practices aimed at addressing the diverse needs of OPEH. A third and final paper reports findings from three World Cafe discussions with providers and OPEH in Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver that examined the design and delivery of existing shelter/housing options.
Results: Taken together, this research led to the organization of promising practices along a continuum of support from non-medical crisis response models to medical models with high levels of specialized care. Regardless of the city or shelter/housing category, promising practices were found to support aging in the right place by including some combination of the following: affordable accommodation offered through subsidies or rent-geared-to-income; support for instrumental activities of daily living to promote independence and autonomy; social programming, opportunities for social connection, and peer support; centralized provision or coordination of medical and non-medical supports; assistance navigating the health, shelter/housing, and social service systems; and a person-centered, holistic approach to care.
Conclusion and Implications: While existing aging in place research largely focuses on older adults who are securely housed, findings from the current papers expand our understanding of a scarcely studied topic to inform housing policy and design for OPEH. The identification of promising practices revealed gaps in the shelter/housing continuum, which can contribute to further marginalization of aging OPEH who have little choice other than to age in settings that do not accommodate their unique and changing needs. Developing housing that enables diverse OPEH to feel rooted in their homes and communities is critical.