Making Connections

Blog by Sue Adams, CEO of Care & Repair England

I am a great believer in learning from history, using hard data and basing decisions on solid evidence.

Always asking why, what, how is a good rule of thumb if you want to bring about useful change. Why do we do things this way? What is being achieved by doing x, y, z? How can we do things better?

Which is how our Catch 22 project (download brochure here) got started. This aims to connect researchers, service providers and older people to improve the evidence about the impacts of various aspects of housing on older people’s lives. Our particular focus is on the connections between adapting/maintaining ordinary mainstream homes to extend a healthy, independent later life.

It can be tough on front line practitioners who see the benefits to individuals of improved housing on a daily basis (why should we have to keep proving the obvious is a common refrain). However, in these days of austerity, quantifying gains is the name of the game. To be blunt – what does your housing service save the NHS is the number one question.

We absolutely have to work together if any practical housing services for older people are to survive, and we need all the help we can get.  Evidence of impact won’t save every good service, but it might tip the balance in some decision making.

Which is why we are so grateful to the academics and researchers who go out of their way to do what they can to carry out research in this underfunded, neglected area, and which all too often falls between the cracks of health, social care, housing and ageing.

The British Society of Gerontology has been a great supporter of Care & Repair England’s work, and so I am profoundly honoured to have been chosen for the 2019 BSG Outstanding Achievement Award. As well as being wonderfully affirmative at a personal level, it will, I hope, also help to raise the profile of the importance of housing and ageing research.

So a huge thanks to BSG, and to everyone out there who is making those important housing, health, care and ageing connections at every level [July 2019]