Thursday 27th March 2014, 13:30 (for a 14:00 start) – 17:00, London

ILC-UK and Age UK will be holding the second in a series of three seminars exploring ‘Community Matters: are our communities ready for ageing?’.

The topic is ‘At home’, and focusses on the current evidence as to how our home is currently influencing our ability to engage in the community. The results of these seminars will inform a solutions-focussed policy brief, looking at what needs to be done to create age-appropriate home environments. This brief will be launched in May at a full day conference on ageing in our communities.

The home environment is a crucial policy topic in the context of an ageing society. Home issues such as barriers to independent living, poor conditions, lack of housing options, and a failure to offer integrated support services – all impact substantially on health and wellbeing - with subsequent repercussions on community engagement.

Many older people wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible and increasingly, this is being made possible through assistive technology and the design principles encapsulated in the concept of Lifetime Homes. That homes are appropriate for older people is of utmost priority as unsuitable dwellings can result in fuel poverty and substantial physical barriers to independence and community engagement.

Housing tenure-type as experienced by older people has become a burning political issue with some commentators labelling older people as ‘bedroom blockers’, hoarding large homes at the expense of young families trying to get a foot on the housing ladder. While these opinions remain controversial it is true that a range of alternative housing options for older people are emerging and growing, such as extra care housing, retirement villages, and some cooperative and co-housing schemes. New retirement schemes are placing greater emphasis on changing ‘lifestyle’ choices and residents influence over housing management and the delivery of support services. Does this go far enough? Is it something we need to encourage?

This seminar will explore:

  • What constitutes a home environment that can promote wellbeing?
  • How are home adaptations currently helping older people remain in their homes and what scope is there for improvement?
  • What type of housing do older people desire and how might this develop in the future?
  • Is government policy on housing type and housing inequality currently working in favour of older people?
  • Have we got the right balance between the focus on the provision of specialised housing that encourages older people to move on and solutions that allow older people to remaining in their existing homes?

More information on the first seminar in the series can be found here: Community Matters: are our communities ready for ageing: Getting out and about

More infromation on the third seminar in the series can be found here: Community Matters: are our communities ready for ageing: Ensuring communities offer what older people want’

The presentation slides from this seminar can be veiwed below: