Working in partnership to tackle excess winter deaths

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue ServiceOn the fourth day of Cold Homes Week, we hear from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service‘s Station Manager in Central Prevent and Protect, Dez Stoddart, about the work that the Fire and Rescue Service is doing with Age South Staffordshire to tackle the problem of excess winter deaths in the county. Continue reading “Working in partnership to tackle excess winter deaths”

No end to cold-related deaths

John, who lives in a cold home

The Government’s latest statistics reveal that shockingly, 40,800 older people died in England and Wales last winter because of the cold. This is more than double the number of deaths than the previous year and far more than those who die from road fatalities annually.

Continue reading “No end to cold-related deaths”

A great place to grow older?

Today, we launched our Agenda for Later Life 2015 report, Age UK’s annual assessment of how public policy is meeting the needs of older people. Here, Jane Vass, Head of Public Policy, discuss the findings of the report in light of the upcoming Spending Review. 

In the run up to what is likely to be one of the most challenging Spending Reviews of recent times, Agenda for Later Life, Age UK’s annual audit of how public policy is meeting the needs of our ageing population, highlights that older people are increasingly being thrown back on their own resources, as the public services on which they rely are being scaled back or withdrawn.

Each year, we track a number of key indicators, and this year shows progress in many areas but also the scale of the challenge facing us. Continue reading “A great place to grow older?”

General Election Series: Safe at home

Photo credit: Diana Parkhouse (Flickr Creative Commons)
Photo credit: Diana Parkhouse (Flickr Creative Commons)

This week’s blog from our General Election Series highlights why everyone in later life should feel safe, comfortable and secure at home. 

A decent and comfortable home environment is important to all of us, but it’s especially important as we age. Older people can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of the cold, damp and hazardous housing conditions. It’s estimated that poor housing costs the NHS £600m every year, with a total cost to society of up to £1.5bn. That’s why Age UK is calling for a comprehensive joined up programme to improve home conditions for older people and new affordable ‘lifetime’ homes built to higher accessibility and energy efficiency standards.

Helping people make adaptations

Many older people need help and advice to repair, adapt or modify their homes. Home improvement agencies and handy person services continue to play a key role in offering practical assistance and can identify the resources needed to pay for work. Yet in recent years these services have been cut back, despite widespread cross party agreement on the essential role they play. Continue reading “General Election Series: Safe at home”

Guest blog – No Place like Home

By the sink best

This week we have a guest blog from Ciaran Osborne, Policy and Research Manager, at Leonard Cheshire Disability

Feeling comfortable where we live is important to all of us.

Nobody wants to have a home they love turned into a prison because they can no longer get in the front door, or because they have to wash at the kitchen sink and use a commode in the living room because their only bathroom is upstairs.

But sadly, that’s exactly the position that too many of us are in. Today, at Leonard Cheshire Disability we have published a new report setting out the shocking scale of the housing crisis facing older and disabled people.

Our “No Place like Home” report reveals that up to 300,000 disabled people will spend Christmas trapped in exactly those circumstances. Continue reading “Guest blog – No Place like Home”

Government failure on accessible housing undermines independent living

Houses

In its national planning guidance the Government says:

The need to provide housing for older people is critical, given the projected increase in the number of households aged 65 and over accounts for over half of the new households’

Yet, their current review of housing standards has failed to seize the opportunity to age proof all new homes. The measures they are proposing could in fact end up restricting progress on accessible housing.  This is terrible news because accessible, well designed houses and flats give all of us the security of knowing that if our mobility is reduced, our homes make it much easier to live independently – hopefully in a location of our choice.

Instead the Government has made improved access standards for new homes an option, to be determined by local authorities. This option, known as ‘category 2’ is based on the Lifetime Homes Standard – a set of 16 criteria which make homes easier and cheaper to adapt.

This optional approach, which requires evidence of need and viability, seems to imply that life time homes should primarily be applied to retirement housing. Most of the house building industry seems to regard retirement schemes as the most sensible response to the projected growth in the older population. The implication is that if your housing becomes inaccessible, due to poor design, it simply requires you to move into retirement housing or residential care. Continue reading “Government failure on accessible housing undermines independent living”

‘Housing in Later Life’ – one size fits all won’t work

HousesThe launch of  a new Age UK report, ‘Housing in Later Life’, coincides with several important policy developments which are likely to impact on the housing options open to all older people, both now and in the future.

Continue reading “‘Housing in Later Life’ – one size fits all won’t work”