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Grab rail in shower

The role of home adaptations in improving later life

Ageing Better has commissioned a team to conduct a review of the evidence into how home adaptations can contribute to a good later life.

Ageing Better wants more people to live in homes that support a good later life. The review will begin in October 2016 and is due to be completed by July 2017.

Home adaptations - ranging from minor adaptations such as additional handrails to major adaptations such as stair lifts - can improve the quality of life for people as they age, helping them to feel more confident and in control of their daily lives, prevent falls, and prevent or delay a move into residential care or the use of domiciliary care. Ageing Better wants more people to live in homes that support a good later life.

The new review aims to provide evidence on the most effective home adaptations to inform the decisions of health and social care professionals, such as occupational therapists practising in the health, social care or independent sectors; those that pay for adaptations; and those that design and sell adaptations. The last evidence review was published in 2007; since then more information has become available, which UWE Bristol and Building Research Establishment (BRE) will review comprehensively, including both relevant UK and international research.

Benefits of home adaptations

Rachael Docking, Senior Evidence Manager, Centre for Ageing Better said: “The homes that people live in can significantly impact on their wellbeing and ability to live their lives the way they want to. Research shows that 80 per cent of homeowners aged 65 and over wish to stay where they are. Home adaptations can help more people achieve this as well as having benefits for society.

“This comprehensive review will identify the most effective adaptations on the market. We will work with others to ensure these are widely available so that more people can remain in their own homes safely for longer.

“We would like to thank everyone who responded to the Invitation to Tender, and look forward to working with UWE Bristol and BRE.”

Ageing Better will also engage with a wide range of organisations involved in providing and funding home adaptations as well as people who have adapted their homes to add practical and personal insights to the understanding of what works.

The review will begin in October 2016 and is due to be completed by July 2017.

Public Health and Wellbeing Research Group, UWE Bristol

The Public Health and Wellbeing Research Group, UWE Bristol is based in the Department for Health and Social Sciences. Its focus is on public health economics, health and social care policy, critical research in health and wellbeing and conceptualising evidence for change in in social and physical environments.  The team includes experts in issues relating to older and disabled people, the process of home adaptations service delivery, the disabled facilities grant and home improvement agencies. Staff have considerable expertise in undertaking scoping reviews, systematic evidence synthesis and realist evaluation.  They have produced several reports on home adaptations delivery and the disabled facilities grant.

Building Research Establishment (BRE)

Building Research Establishment (BRE) is a leading multi-disciplinary building science centre with a mission to improve the built environment through research and knowledge generation.

The team members working on this project have expertise in experimental design, data collection and qualitative and quantitative data analysis. They were part of the process to develop the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and have produced a series of reports on:

BRE bring a wealth of experience about modelling to demonstrate the potential population impact of the provision and use of home adaptations.