Adaptations work

Crawling up the stairs, being unable to wash properly, not being able to sleep in your bedroom – these are the real life impacts of not having home adaptations done when you need them.

Whilst there is often a response along the lines of ‘isn’t it obvious’ when it comes to measuring the health impacts of such situations, lack of quantified, academic evidence, and particularly of the cost benefits of home adaptations, has been an issue for some time.

This is why the new international review of evidence concerning older people and home adaptations is so welcome.

Commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better and carried out by the University of the West of England, this is a long overdue and important addition to the armoury of those of us passionate about making older people’s homes good places to age well.

Whilst this review won’t answer all of the questions (and one of the findings is that there really does need to be much more research in this field as all of the key evidence was from non-UK studies), this overview provides some much needed data to help us make the case for adaptations.

The review was preceded by last week’s surprise (and very welcome) budget announcement of additional national government funding for disabled facilities grants this year. What we now need is to see that national money added to by local health, housing and social care inputs (however modest) as well as steps taken to innovate/deliver integration to produce even better results for individuals.

We are delighted to be taking the next steps with Centre for Ageing Better and gathering local examples of the elements of innovation and good practice, particularly features identified as important in the evidence review, such as speed of provision and tailored solutions that listen to the priorities of the individual older, disabled person.