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Older lady using a stair lift

Improving current housing

We want more people in later life to live in housing suited to their needs.

Living in a suitable home is crucially important to a good later life. The right home environment can maintain or improve people’s physical and mental health, wellbeing, social connections and help them to do the things that are important to them.

Living in a suitable home
Why work on it?

The vast majority of older people aged 65 and over live in mainstream housing (we estimate this to be more than 90%), and most older people want to stay in their own home as they age.

As we age, the likelihood of experiencing some physical impairments or disabilities that make day-to-day life more difficult increases. The likelihood of frailty and being at risk of falling also increases. Installing aids and adaptations into people’s homes, such as grab rails and level access showers, can improve the accessibility and usability of a person’s home environment, maintaining or restoring their ability to carry out day-to-day activities safely and comfortably.

Research has found investment in adaptations to be highly cost-effective, helping to improve wellbeing, keep people out of hospital, prevent or delay moves into residential care, reduce burdens on carers and support social connections.

As long as I've got things to hold on to I'm not frightened of falling.
Bathroom grab rail
Installing aids and adaptations into people’s homes, such as grab rails and level access showers, can improve the accessibility and usability of a person’s home environment.
What we’re working on
  • We want to build on this evidence review to identify examples of local areas that are delivering home repairs and adaptations in a timely manner, and in line with people’s personal goals. To do this we have launched a ‘call for practice’ in partnership with Care & Repair England to identify high quality and innovative practice in the provision of home adaptations for older people. Our aim is to gather and share practical evidence and examples of how local areas can organise services most effectively to deliver home adaptations to all who would benefit from them.
  • Our latest report The role of home adaptations in improving later life (by Ageing Better, UWE, BRE)  finds that making small changes to older people’s homes, such as installing handrails, ramps and level-access showers could play a significant role in relieving pressure on the NHS and social care and reduce costs by millions of pounds each year.
  • We are working with Northumbria University to gather evidence from front-line workers such as occupational therapists to understand what works for them and their clients, and the challenges they face. We are also gathering views from people who use home adaptations to understand what changes and improvement they would like to see. We will use this insight and evidence to influence local health and care commissioners.
  • The products that make it easier to stay in your own home could be better designed, and better marketed. We also plan to engage with consumers, retailers and designers to understand how the current situation can be improved.
  • We are also working alongside those building new houses (including with NHS Healthy New Towns), to support them in applying the evidence of what works, and in gathering evidence about how new developments can best meet people’s priorities.
  • Whilst improving mainstream housing stock is our current focus, we are also interested in wider engagement and influencing to support housing developers and planners to design new homes in a way that will ensure they are adaptable and accessible to meet people’s changing needs across the life course.

The role of home adaptations in improving later life

Download
Occupational therapist with client
Innovative practice, evidence and case studies

We are interested in innovative practice, evidence and case studies that aim to improve how individuals get adaptations into their home. This can include, but is not limited to, innovative practice around:

  • The Disabled Facilities Grant
  • Occupational Therapists/qualified assessors
  • Handyperson services
  • Home Improvement Agencies
  • Registered social landlords
  • Information and advice

The products that make it easier to stay in your own home could be better designed, and better marketed. We are engaging with consumers, retailers and designers to understand how the current market can be improved and ensure good information and advice is available to consumers.

Occupational therapist measuring drive to install ramp
Get involved
  • Are you are doing relevant research?
  • Do you have personal experience that could help inform the design of interventions and solutions?
  • Are you are delivering a service or intervention designed to support people to feel in control through well-designed homes, neighbourhoods and services?