Towards Patterns of Near-residence and Co-residence between Older People and Their Children in Belgium

By: Wesley Gruijthuijsen   Dominique Vanneste  

Together with a deinstitutionalization of care services and a policy focused on ‘ageing-in-place’, the increasingly ageing population in Belgium creates several challenges. Although the importance of the interaction between micro-individual and macro-level characteristics with regard to ageing are getting more attention, there is still need for a stronger interdisciplinary integration, both from a research and policy perspective. The spatial dimension of ageing, and more specifically the importance of distance, is often neglected, even in the context of housing. Characterized by a high level of urban sprawl, ‘ageing-in-place’ in Belgium can for example be seen as partly contradictory to a spatial policy focused on efficient land use. Nevertheless, patterns of both near-residence and co-residence are largely lacking, especially when coupled with factors such as the availability of care-networks, neighbourhood facilities, cultural backgrounds etc. Although there are indications that parents and older adults adapt their residential choices in function of support and care needs, an extensive (longitudinal) view on parent-child linkages is lacking. This paper presents the development of an approach to track the spatial movements of the population older than 65 and their children in both Flanders and the Brussels-Capital Region between 2001 and 2017, including (changing) patterns of co-housing and near-residence. To realize this we made use of a retrospective open-cohort design based on the Belgian National Register, enriched with data of population and housing censuses of 2001 and 2011. Some first results of a spatial analysis are presented by making use of a geographic information system (GIS).

Near-residence, Co-residence, Spatial analysis, GIS, Family relations, Spatial sustainability
Public Policy and Public Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Wesley Gruijthuijsen

PhD Researcher, Division of Geography and Tourism (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) , KU Leuven, Belgium

Wesley Gruijthuijsen is a PhD candidate at KU Leuven. His PhD research is focused on 'Ageing-in-place' in relation to spatial sustainability and the importance and negotiating of distance in informal eldercare. 

Dominique Vanneste

Professor in Geography and Tourism, KU Leuven, Belgium