Experts are calling for an integrated approach to housing, planning and design to support people in later life.
One in three children born in the UK today can expect to live to 100 – presenting potential challenges and opportunities to innovate. An integrated approach to housing, planning and design solutions with older people can support us to live independently in our own homes for longer – and generate new markets. A new paper sets out recommendations for central and local government, builders, planners, designers and lenders on the importance of co-production.
The 100-year life: the role of housing, planning and design is published jointly by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), the Design Council and the Centre for Ageing Better, and is based on a workshop held earlier this year.
The paper looks at four key areas:
- Integrating housing alongside health and care.
- Making finance more flexible.
- Creating age-friendly communities.
- Engaging with older people in designing new products from kitchens to transport.
Recommendations have already been shared with the Department of Health and Social Care to support the forthcoming Green Paper on care for older people, and the existing Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenge on Ageing.
Speaking at the launch of the report at Age UK London's Tackling Loneliness Amongst Older Londoners conference, SCIE’s Chair, Paul Burstow said, 'Our longer lives are a reason to innovate, not just to celebrate. We need to shift our thinking around housing, health and care to ensure that people can live healthy and happy lives for longer and reduce the health inequality that exists across the UK. The forthcoming Green Paper is an opportunity to bring all these resources to bear to improve the quality of later life.'
The report makes a number of recommendations:
- Local leaders should align health, housing and care systems around a shared objective of helping people to live independently in a way that is suited to their age.
- Government should provide greater flexibility of finance by increasing age limits on lending, extend personal healthcare budgets to factor in housing adaptions, and encourage the Disabled Facilities Grant to be used more innovatively to ensure speedy access to home adaptations.
- Age-friendly communities should be the norm; 90% of new homes should be built to accessibility standards, local and neighbourhood plans should include age-friendly environments, and housing developers should prove that they are being age-friendly.
- People who use services and their carers should be central to the design, delivery and evaluation of services.
The report’s authors conclude that we need a whole-population, whole-place approach to planning for our future health, care, housing and support system at both the national and local levels.