Saturday, 01 August 2015

Inquiry calls for housing changes to support elderly

An inquiry into care for older people has called for housing, health and social care to be integrated in order to help people maintain their independence.

The all party parliamentary group on older people’s housing and care has published a report, Living well at home, which draws together evidence heard at a series of parliamentary sessions.

It said the home can either be the cause of older people having to move into expensive residential care or have prolonged stays in hospital or the home can prevent the need for institutional care and instead enhance quality of life in retirement.

However, the group heard that some people were waiting more than two years to have aids and adaptations installed in their home, and that there was a shortage of grant for home adaptations.

The inquiry, which was chaired by Lord Best, called for the integration of housing, health and social care services at a strategic level and for government and local agencies, including housing providers, to help older people remain in their homes.

It suggested that health and wellbeing board – panels of local providers who decide on the delivery of health services – could be a vehicle to better integrate housing services.

Lord Best said: ‘Paying for care is rightly near the top of the political agenda at present, but there’s a wider picture. Spending money on people’s homes can save far more in health and care services.

‘Our inquiry found lots of examples of excellent practice, with innovative councils and providers leading the way. We need to build on these by acting now to offer older people the housing choices that enable them to live well at home for longer.’

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