The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Ageing and Older people has published a report looking at decent and accessible housing for older people. The inquiry looked to understand the detrimental impact of poor housing on older people’s physical, mental and social wellbeing. It aimed to:
- Gain insight into the challenges older people face in different housing.
- Understand the connection between poor housing standards and public health concerns.
- Produce recommendations on how to improve housing for older people.
With a focus on keeping people living independently at home for as long as possible, and reducing delayed transfers of care, the report argues that we must find long-term solutions to
ensure the ageing population can live in decent and accessible homes.
There has been positive progress in improving housing options for older people in recent years, says the inquiry, for example, retirement housing can provide excellent services for some older people, with a good balance between independence, care and support. However, people are still remaining in their own homes which are often unsuitable and unsafe.
The report makes 13 recommendations to improve provision of decent and accessible housing for older people:
- Review the Decent Homes Standard to include accessibility criteria.
- Set more ambitious targets to improve the energy efficiency of the housing stock.
- Integrate housing issues into health and care strategies and health and care issues into housing strategies.
- Legislate to ensure all new homes are built to lifetime standard to make them flexible to the needs of older and disabled people.
- Government's guidance on planning housing for older and disabled people should go further and make sure that the housing requirements of older and disabled people are a much stronger component of the National Planning Policy Framework.
- Restore funding for national and local housing advice services.
- Investment in HIAs and handyperson schemes.
- Increase funding of the Disabled Facilities Grant.
- Ensure Housing, Health and Wellbeing Grants work for older people to ensure they can remove hazards, such as trip hazards, poor lighting and damp from leaking pipes or broken guttering.
- Adopt a national strategy on supported housing for older people to ensure that all specialist retirement housing meets agreed standards.
- Government must make it easier to deliver better alternatives for older people living in unsuitable housing. This should include funding and planning reforms to expand the availability of housing with care, such as extra care housing, in both the private and social sectors as well as making sure alternative accessible and affordable general purpose housing is available to buy or rent.
- Improve conditions for private renters.
- Work to increase adaptations in homes and housing stock in the private rented sector.
The full report is available on the Age UK website.