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MPs calls for national strategy on older people’s housing

A leading group of MPs has called for a national strategy on older people’s housing and more ‘age proof’ homes to be built.

A report published last week by the communities and local government parliamentary committee says the new strategy must recognise the link between housing and health, and be linked to the government’s upcoming social care green paper.

It also calls for the First Stop Advice Service currently led by the Elderly Accommodation Counsel to be expanded to help older people find information on trusted traders, energy efficiency and moving home.

‘There is a well-evidenced link between housing and health and wellbeing, and the consequent costs of treatment by the health service,’ the report states.

‘We recommend that prevention, early intervention and promotion of health and wellbeing through housing should be a priority for the national advice service.’

The report also calls for the National Planning Policy Framework to be amended to encourage the development of more housing for older people, with them involved in the design process.

It also recommends that all new homes should be built to be ‘age proof’ for the current and future needs of an ageing population.

‘We recommend that local authorities ensure their accessible housing register or comparable system is comprehensive and up-to-date and keep track of stock which has undergone significant adaptation so that it can be matched in the future to the needs of new occupants,’ the report adds.

‘They should also ensure that housing occupational therapists, surveyors and housing associations feed into the information gathering process.’

Committee chair Clive Betts said it is ‘vital’ that the link between housing, health and social care is recognised.

‘The right kind of housing can help people stay health and support them to live independently,’ added Mr Betts.

‘This can help reduce the need for home or residential care, bringing real benefits to the individual and also relieving pressure on the health service.

‘The green paper must consider the range of housing for older people, from mainstream and accessible homes to supported and extra-case housing, as well as access to adaptations and repairs.’

Responding to the report, Dr Rachael Docking from the Centre for Ageing Better, said: ‘Today’s call to create a national strategy for housing for older people is hugely welcome and represents a significant step towards responding to a society where more people are living longer.

‘So much of the debate around housing for older people has focused on specialist housing, despite the fact that over 90 per cent of older people live in general housing and for many that is where they want to remain.

‘It is heartening to see the committee’s recognition that older people’s housing needs are diverse and that greater support is needed to help individuals and communities to plan for the future.’

  • Read the full report here

 

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