Residential care centres for elders (RCCEs) in Romania have rapidly developed over the last two decades. In the absence of coherent policies regarding elderly people, RCCEs are mainly the result of businesses arising from an acceleration of the ageing process in Romania. This study uses a multidimensional approach to investigate issues related to the sustainability of ageing in RCCEs in Romania. Specifically, it aims to analyse whether the grouping of RCCEs is following the distribution of elderly Romanian population likely to require such amenities, and whether the characteristics and services of these facilities were appropriate for their users in line with World Health Organization’s Agenda of Ageing. The research relies on a combination of quantitative methods by Geographical Information System (GIS) spatial analysis, and qualitative methods by interviews. The results show that remote rural areas have clusters with high shares of aged population, while the distribution of the RCCEs prevails in large cities, being partly adapted to socio-spatial requirements, and the general trends of the demographic ageing process. These findings are in contrast with the dominant perception of RCCE beneficiaries, who want to be closer to their domiciles, as they are more oriented towards family values, emotionally affected by separation from their relatives, consider themselves socially and spatially segregated groups in care centres, although aware of the need for long-term institutional care. The study reveals the necessity for optimising health policies for elders, by improving the socio-spatial management of such services and building age-friendly environments in long-term care in consent with WHO calls.
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