For years, we have championed that appropriate, timely adaptations reap dividends in people’s ability to remain in their own homes, independent and less reliant on social & healthcare.
Further, if homes are designed from the outset to be age-proof, the amount of adaptation is reduced, having a positive impact on DFG funding. In theory too, it would mean that those adaptations that are required could be done more quickly and efficiently.
Consider, 20% of the UK population is registered disabled. A similar percentage is over the age of 65. So it’s a big sector of both our population and the housing market, be it owner-occupied, social or privately rented.
Now, the Parliamentary green paper on housing for older people is making those recommendations, that there is a new housing strategy. Homes should be built to Category 2 i.e. they should go beyond being ‘visitable’ (the current basic requirement), to being ‘accessible and adaptable’.
It’s not a huge change to design homes to that category- in essence, wide enough doorways to allow a wheelchair, step-free access, an entrance level WC, bathroom on the same floor as the main bedroom, and internal structure strong enough to bear the addition of support solutions- grab rails etc.
Those of us involved in home adaptations know that these are the main changes encountered, on a daily basis, particularly the provision of the WC. The bathroom is the most common room to be adapted, with the toilet being the main fixture affected within.
Going to the toilet is something we do on average eight times a day. So it is logical it is the one area that anyone with any degree of limitation needs help with. Would you like someone to help you ‘go’? Therein lies the answer to the impact on wellbeing….
So let’s hope the green paper turns into legislation. It can only benefit us all, whether we need it now, or in the future, but also it will ease the pressure on our NHS and social care systems.