MPs urge action on housing for older people

12 Feb 18

The government should draw up a national strategy to deal with housing for older people, according to a cross-party committee of MPs.

Suggestions put forward by the communities and local government committee included increased funding for home improvement agencies, which help older people adapt their homes to ensure they can live in safety and dignity, and for new homes to be ‘age proofed’.

Committee chair Clive Betts said: “With an ageing population, it’s vital that the link between housing and health and social care is recognised.”

The committee’s report noted that the proportion of people aged 85 and above is projected to double over the next 25 years.

With this in mind, the committee recommended that the National Planning Policy Framework be amended to align local and national policy and encourage the building of more homes for older people.

The report also recommended reinvesting in the existing FirstStop Advice Service to provide an expanded national telephone advice service.

Betts said the creation of a helpline would “help people to make the right choices and live comfortably whether in their present homes or by moving to different accommodation”.

Throughout the CLG committee’s inquiry, reference was made to the strain that poor housing for old people has put on the NHS.

Research conducted by the Building Research Establishment in 2016 estimated the cost of poor housing to the NHS was £1.4bn every year.

“Further analysis of the BRE’s data by Care and Repair showed that nearly half this amount (£624m) arose from poor housing among older people” according to the committee’s report.

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