Impey room set LD
May 14

Home Adaptation Delays Putting Older People ‘At Risk’


Delays by local councils around the UK in making home adaptations are putting older people at increased risk of going into residential care because it’s becoming increasingly difficult for them to live independently in their own homes, a new report has revealed.

Surveys show that older people are keen to continue ageing in place, the Age UK study observes, with adaptations, aids and accessible housing all essential to ensuring they can do so, while simultaneously reducing pressure on the NHS and social care.

Facilities like stairlifts and walk-in shower baths can help reduce the likelihood of slips, trips and falls, giving people greater independence, sustaining better health and reducing dependence on others for care, as well as making any future hospital discharges easier.

However, according to the report, in 2021/22 more than two-thirds of local councils took more than six months to install adaptations through the disabled facilities grant. Reasons for these delays include poor administration, poor customer services and poor communication between different teams and departments.

As such, the Step Change: Improving Delivery of the Disabled Facilities Grant report is calling for an increase in the amount of accessible age-friendly housing and quicker access to aid and adaptations to be put at the heart of the government’s vision for older people’s housing in the future.

Charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “We know that falls cost the NHS more than £2.3 billion per year, with 30 per cent of people aged 65+ and 50 per cent of people aged 80+ falling at least once each year, so you can see how important home adaptations can be.

“Something as simple as a grab rail or a walk-in shower can make the difference between someone being able to remain at home, living independently, and having to move into a care home, at substantial cost to the taxpayer or to themselves if they have to pay their own fees.”

In terms of expense, the average cost of two hours of help each day comes to £13,200 per year, while average annual residential care costs reach £39,520, which further cements the case for prioritising home adaptations and accessibility aids.

Skip to toolbar