The art of the possible

Blog by Sue Adams, CEO of Care & Repair England



I’m sure we all sometimes wonder why, when it can be so obvious what works best, why doesn’t everyone do it?

When we came to consider what works well in terms of help with home adaptations from the perspective of older people, the Older People’s Housing Champions were very clear about this, coming with this list:

  • Suitable need impartial/ independent information and advice about what adaptations would best suit me
  • Transparent -easy to find out about the help available, open and clear process, clear pricing, good communication etc
  • Simpleto get help and professionals listen to what I want/ my priorities
  • Speedyso I get what I need when I need it; adaptation delivery/ installation is fast/ efficient
  • Trustworthy, good valuea good job, done well by a reputable contractor at a reasonable price

At the risk of stating the obvious, if you need a home adaptation the sooner you get it the better. If you can’t get in and out of the bath and are reduced to having to strip wash, why on earth would you want to wait for a year or more for a shower to be installed? If you had the money, knew what was possible and had the wherewithal to organise a builder, you would just get on and sort it, wouldn’t you?

So why do some local areas provide help with home adaptations so well, other, quite frankly, very badly?

Thanks to the Centre for Ageing Better, who commissioned Care & Repair England to undertake an open ‘Call for Practice’ with regard to home adaptations provision, we have been able to document a wide range of local examples of good practice and innovation.

Martin Hodges, our Catch 22 project lead, has trekked all over England, meeting people in local authorities, home improvement agencies and social housing who are going the extra mile to improve people’s lives.

The end result is a new report published, Adapting for Ageing: Good practice and innovation in home adaptations, alongside a set of linked stand-alone profiles describing the 24 local ‘exemplar’ sites (all are hyperlinked from the main report).

The really big challenge is how to get everyone to take up these ideas. The extra £240m social care winter pressures money would be well spent on adaptations and replicating some of these good examples. [October 2018]