The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee has concluded that a national strategy on housing for older people 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 calls on the Government to recognise the link between homes and health and social care in the forthcoming social care Green Paper. The Committee also recommends that the National Planning Policy Framework be amended to encourage the development of more housing for older people and that councils identify a target proportion of new housing to be developed for this purpose, as well as publishing a strategy which explains how they intend to meet the housing needs of older people in their area.
The Committee's recommendations 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, including an accreditation for companies which provide tailored services for older people moving home and better customer service and guidance from lenders when applying for a mortgage.
- Ensuring that national and local planning policy encourages the building of more of all types of housing for older people – extra care, retirement, sheltered and accessible housing across the social and private sectors, with older people involved in the design process.
- 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.
Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said, 'With an ageing population, it's vital that the link between housing and health and social care is recognised. A new national strategy for older people, taking on board the recommendations of our report, should be linked to the Government’s forthcoming social care Green Paper.
'There is a huge variety of housing options for those in later life, so it’s important that older people are given help to make the right decisions about their future.
'A properly-funded telephone advice service, bringing together information on everything from repairs and heating to moving and care options, would help people to make the right choices and live comfortably whether in their present homes or by moving to different accommodation.
'The right kind of housing can help people stay healthy and support them to live independently. 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 care housing, as well as access to adaptations and repairs.'