These reports from Hull and Wirral sit alongside the work of the Older People’s Housing Champions Group on developing their Ideas for Action* guides working with local older people’s groups and organisations across England.
These guides offer practical ideas for older people’s groups, forums and organisations who want to influence local housing policy, plans and action. In Hull and Wirral older people have come together to influence housing policy and plans locally and have been written up to share ideas with others.
All the reports and guides can be accessed here.
These reports also highlight pioneering ways to engage with older people whose voices are less often heard.
If you are taking any local action on housing and ageing, we would love to hear from you. [August 2018]
A new report from Care & Repair England concludes that handyperson services offer a high rate of return on investment, as well as wider social benefits, and are highly prized by older people, particularly ‘older old’ single women living alone.
Small but Significant: The impact and cost benefits of handyperson services – clearly shows how these low cost schemes, which carry out small repairs and minor adaptations for older people (primarily delivered by not for profit Care and Repair and other home improvement agencies) result in fiscal and social gains to the NHS and Social Care.
The report includes a detailed evaluation of the Preston Care and Repair Handyperson Service, identifying a high level of use of the service by ‘older old’ (80yrs+) people and more vulnerable groups, particularly the rising number of older single women living alone, often with chronic long term health conditions, reducing mobility and sight loss.
Handyperson services provide older people with great relief from worry about their home, resulting in them feeling more independent and in control:
- 96% of older people said that the Preston Care & Repair handyperson service made them less worried about their home
- 100% would recommend the service to others
Relevant to policy makers, service planners, commissioners and providers, Small but Significant shows how handyperson services can play a critical role in the integration and prevention agendas.
A short summary brochure is also available here.
The Older People’s Housing Champions Group, in partnership with Care & Repair England and local organisations from different parts of England, has published a series of Ideas for Action guides.
These Ideas for Action guides, plus a linked ‘Housing Voices‘ film, resource pack and report from Elders Council of Newcastle working with Skimstone Arts and Northumbria University, offer practical ideas for older people’s groups, forums and organisations who want to influence local housing policy, plans and action.
They highlight pioneering ways to engage with older people whose voices are less often heard.
We are very grateful to the Esmèe Fairbairn Foundation for making this work possible.
The guides, film and resources can all be accessed here
Home owners and poverty
This report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation examines the relationship between home-ownership and poverty for all age groups. One of its conclusions is that ‘the poor housing conditions among home-owners in poverty, particularly older outright owners, need greater attention. Fixing homes that are cold, dangerous or in poor repair should enable older people to stay in their homes for longer, and avoid homes becoming a potential cause of ill-health’
Housing and Disabled People – Britain’s Hidden crisis
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has published this report which reveals the findings of an 18 month-long Inquiry, detailing a wide range of recommendations, and calling on UK governments to take urgent action to make homes adaptable and accessible to everyone.
Regarding home adaptations the report calls on local authorities to tackle delays within adaptations systems and ensure that low-cost, minor adaptations in particular can be installed quickly and easily. It is also recommending improved provision of independent information and advice about housing options, including adaptations.
• Housing and health: Opportunities for sustainability and transformation partnerships – new report from the Kings Fund with the National Federation of Housing Associations
• Sector showcase – housing and independent living report from Housing LIN and Chartered Institute of Housing
• The right place to live a report from Independent Age on private renters aged 65 and over
The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee Inquiry into Older People’s Housing has concluded that a national strategy for older people’s housing is needed to bring together and improve policy in this area.
The CLG Committee’s report on Housing for Older People recommends that the wider availability of housing advice and information should be central to the strategy and the existing FirstStop Advice Service should be re-funded by the Government to provide an expanded national telephone advice service.
The Committee’s recommendations also include:
- Additional funding for Home Improvement Agencies operating services including a handyperson service for older people.
- A range of measures to help older people overcome the barriers to moving home.
- Ensuring that national and local planning policy encourages the building of more of all types of housing for older people – with older people involved in the design process and amending the National Planning Policy Framework.
- Building all new homes to accessible and adaptable standards so that they are ‘age proofed’ and can meet the current and future needs of older people.
The Committee also calls for the Government to recognise the link between housing, health and social care in the forthcoming Adult Social Care Green Paper [Feb 2018]
For the first time in more than a decade the number of non-decent homes in the owner-occupied sector has increased, rising from 2,694,000 in 2015 to 2,912,000 in 2016 – 19.7% of sector stock.
See the latest English Housing Survey Headline report (2016-17) and a blog from Sue Adams from Care & Repair England on the impact http://careandrepair-england.org.uk/2018/01/perfect-storm/
The additional £42m capital grant for home adaptations (announced in the 2017 Autumn Statement) has now been paid out *directly to Local Housing Authorities.
On 24 January the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published a statement to this effect, noting that the council receiving the biggest share is Birmingham, paid £1,007,785.
At the time of the original announcement some local authorities expressed concern about their capacity to complete works and spend the capital in the current financial year.
However, many areas have been working to streamline systems, including creating fast track arrangements, or reviewing the scope for carrying forward other funds into 2018-2019 and using this additional money first.
*DFG main funding is paid via the Better Care Fund
Our resources page and our summary of local action undertaken by the housing champions has been updated
If you are taking local action on housing do let us know.
Care & Repair England, working with Silverlinks, has updated its range of self-help guides for older people with long term conditions and their carers on making their home a better place to live.
There are six guides covering respiratory, macular and heart disease, dementia, stroke and arthritis; and a general online guide for people with long term conditions.
Each guide advises on what people can do to their home to make living with long term conditions more manageable. They look at areas such as: –
- design and layout
- lighting and heating
- safety, security and technology
- gadgets and equipment
- going out and about
The aim is to make life easier so that people can continue to live independently and do the things they want to do.
The guides also describe the range of alternative housing options and offer suggestions about where to find more detailed information, advice and help.
These guides can be accessed on the Silverlink’s Information for Older People page.
With support from the Quality of Life Charitable Trust, Care & Repair England has published case studies identifying work that prevents hospital admission and delayed transfers of care, reduces the risk of admission to residential care and extends independent living and wellbeing for older people at home and their carers.
The case studies are:
- Age UK Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Silverlink’s housing options information and advice service in GP services and hospitals
- Age UK Warwickshire Housing Advice and Information Service, working with local GPs
- Homewise Memory Matters support for people with dementia at home
- West of England Care & Repair reducing delayed transfer of care through housing interventions
See Care & Repair England’s health and housing pages for details