Why age-proofing homes is the way forward
MPs want a nationwide plan for housing the elderly – and we agree.
You see the oft-reported crisis in the NHS from a very particular perspective when you’re a stairlift company. Literally every week, and frequently more often than that, we’ll be called by a family member who’s desperate for the quick installation of a stairlift so that their loved one can leave hospital.
Without it, they tell us, either the hospital will refuse to release them. Or there’ll be a delay while a care plan is put in place. Or the house will have to be turned upside down so that there’s no need to use the stairs.
What’s the upshot of all this? Well, either an NHS bed that could be freed up isn’t, or the only way your loved one can live at home is if you move the bed downstairs and invest in a commode. Neither seem the smartest of solutions.
That’s where we come in, playing our small part and installing a stairlift within a day or so, so that hospital beds are released, and the freedom of the home is maintained.
You might think there has to be an easier way to do this, and a group of MPs agrees.
The Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has produced a report looking at the state of housing for the elderly, and it makes sobering reading. Yet its recommendations could help transform elderly living, and ensure that in the future when a patient needs to leave hospital, the state of their home doesn’t prevent it.
Key to the committee’s recommendations is the idea of age-proofing homes – of building homes that are inclusively designed for the elderly from the outset, so door widening, ramps, accessible electrics etc aren’t something that need installing later.
As the BBC reported, committee chairman Clive Betts said: “With an ageing population, it’s vital that the link between housing and health and social care is recognised.
“A new national strategy for older people, taking on board the recommendations of our report, should be linked to the Government’s forthcoming social care green paper.”
Homes for an aging population
To us, this makes perfect sense. Make age-proofing a part of home building now, and you reduce the need for Disability Funding Grants, you remove a common bottleneck in the NHS, and you help people to remain in their own homes for longer, reducing the burden on social care.
Not every aid is likely to feature in the age-proofed home of the future – we imagine stairlifts will still be added as the need arises – but there’s so much preventative work that could be done now to save costs, bottlenecks and heartache later.