Home adaptations to live at home for longer

A new report has suggested that providing life-changing adaptations in the home can enable elderly and vulnerable people to carry out every day activities and stay living at home for longer.

Adapting for ageing’, published by the Centre for Ageing Better, identifies examples of good practice from councils and service providers on providing life-changing adaptations in the home to enable people to carry out every day activities such as cooking, bathing or using the toilet.

Furthermore, the paper, co-produced with Care & Repair England, urges other councils and service providers to learn from the good practice, such as raising awareness of available support and how to access it, delivering home adaptations quickly and without means-testing, linking adaptation services with vital home improvements and working with handyperson services.

It has been revealed that over 90 per cent of people over the age of 65 live in ordinary, mainstream housing, but only seven per cent of UK homes meet basic national accessibility requirements. With such ‘highly variable’ provision, the authors stress that there needs to be a more consistent approach to measuring the outcomes of home adaptations and improvements as part of an integrated approach to housing, health and care.

Rachael Docking, senior evidence manager, Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Through our call for practice, we’ve uncovered fantastic examples of innovative, forward-thinking approaches to helping people to keep on living in their homes for longer. The Disabled Facilities Grant has been called the best kept secret in social care funding, and this report highlights those councils that are making the most of what powers and revenue they have. We’re sharing the good practice we’ve found so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of a good later life – and unnecessary NHS and social care costs can be avoided."

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing board, said of the report: “Councils and partners are using a range of forward thinking initiatives to adapt and improve homes, to ensure they are accessible and help people remain in their own homes rather than go into care. However, with people living longer, increases in costs and decreases in funding, adult social care is at breaking point.

“Over recent years, councils have protected adult social care relative to other services. But the scale of the overall funding picture for local government as a whole means adult social care services still face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care. The likely consequences of this are more and more people being unable to get quality and reliable care and support, which enables them to live more fulfilling lives.

“Action is needed, which is why, following government’s decision to delay its green paper on adult social care, the Local Government Association has published its own green paper consultation to drive forward the public debate on what sort of care and support we need to improve people’s wellbeing and independence, the need to focus on prevention work, and, crucially, how we fund these vital services.”