Meeting the home adaptation needs of older people

Councils want their residents to live in safe, affordable, good quality homes. We recognise that housing is a key component of health and care and the foundation upon which people can achieve a positive quality of life.

The impact of poor housing on health is similar to that of smoking or alcohol and costs the NHS at least £1.4 billion a year, as well as increasing demand for social care.

Our ageing population means that more older people (over 65s) are making up a growing part of our housing market. They now live in a third of all homes, and this is set to increase in the coming years. Over 90 per cent of older people live in mainstream homes and 80 per cent of the homes we will be living in by 2050 are already built. 

As a society and as individuals, we need to improve the way we plan for old age, and this includes how we house our older people. Whilst there is an undersupply of fully accessible homes, with just 7 per cent of the stock meeting the four ‘visitable’ criteria, 72 per cent could be adapted. The learning highlighted in this publication shows that timely adaptations can make a real difference to people’s wellbeing and enable them to stay in their own home when that is their wish.

Councils have responsibilities for planning, housing, social care and public health. Through health and wellbeing boards, councils are uniquely placed to bring health and housing partners together to plan for how best to meet the housing needs of our ageing population. This includes ensuring that older and disabled people of all ages, including children, can access the practical help they need to adapt their homes. For example, information and advice about possible home adaptations, as well as loans and grants for those who need financial help.

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