The role of home adaptations in improving later life

Authors: Jane Powell, Sheila Mackintosh, Emma Bird, Janet Ige, Helen Garrett, Mike Roys
Published by Centre for Ageing Better, November 2017

The review aims to provide evidence to make the case for the importance and effectiveness of adaptations, primarily to influence policy-makers at national and local levels, practitioners and local commissioners.

Living in a suitable home is crucially important to a good later life. Good housing and age-friendly environments help people to stay warm, safe and healthy, close to those who make up their social circle, and enable them to do the things that are important to them.

The majority of older people in England live in mainstream housing, but that housing often has small room sizes, steep internal stairs, baths rather than showers and steps outside. As people get older these become increasingly difficult to manage, with increasing long-term conditions and disabilities impacting on day-to-day activities within the home. Very little attractive, affordable housing has been built in the right locations to enable people to move to properties that are more accessible.

Adapting the home can increase the usability of the home environment and enable the majority of people to maintain their independence for as long as possible. This could potentially reduce the risk of falls and other accidents, relieve pressures on accident and emergency services, speed hospital discharge and reduce the need for residential care.

The review aims to provide evidence to make the case for the importance and effectiveness of adaptations, primarily to influence policy-makers at national and local levels, practitioners and local commissioners. The objective is to strengthen their focus on housing in their strategic plans, and commit increased effort and resources to delivering both more extensive, better coordinated, more timely and personalised repair and adaptations services and better information and advice services.

The review was conducted by a team from the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), and related modelling work was conducted by Building Research Establishment (BRE).

 

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