One of the areas being explored by the Government as part of taking forward the Ageing Society Grand Challenge is about communities and housing, recognizing the link between a suitable living environment and a healthy, active and independent older age. The work can be broadly split into how the current housing stock can be adapted to meet needs and what the housing of the future needs to look like.
One of the many areas needing work is on adaptations and assistive technology to enable safer, independent living with dignity.
A recent international review of evidence concerning ageing and home adaptations, published by the Centre for Ageing Better in 2017, identified studies from across the globe which demonstrated the value and impacts of home adaptations, but found no UK studies which met the review’s research standards.
The review found that whilst there is good international evidence that minor home adaptations are an effective intervention e.g. for preventing falls and injuries, improving performance of everyday activities and improving mental health, it found few studies concerning impacts of major adaptations. It also concluded that there is insufficient evidence to quantify the overall return on investment (ROI) from home adaptations.
It concluded that there was a pressing need to deepen the evidence from the UK for how home adaptations can contribute to improving later lives.
Having long-recognised the link between suitable housing and a healthy later life, the Dunhill Medical Trust, which actively seeks to fund important but under-funded topics, has made £200,000 available to fund research projects which will contribute to filling this evidence gap. We’re particularly interested in hearing from multi disciplinary teams of both academics and practitioners (local authorities, third sector organisations, private sector product and service providers) who can deliver robust evidence on an aspect of this broad and rich topic within 18 months.
The deadline for outline applications is 9 November, 2018 and shortlisted applicants will be invited to present their detailed proposals to an expert panel representing local government, NHS, RIBA and the practitioner and research communities.
This meeting will be held on 21 January, 2019 at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. This will be a full day, open meeting, free to attend, at which any and all who have an interest in this important topic are welcome. We’ll also have speakers from our partners in this call, Care & Repair England and the Housing LIN who will be setting out current and future challenges. Numbers are limited so please do register below to reserve your place – and let us know if your plans change so we can release your place to someone on the waiting list.