Small changes to homes can improve quality of life and relieve pressure on NHS and social care
Reported in Ageing Better (28 November 2017): A new report published today finds that making small changes to older people’s homes, such as installing handrails, ramps and level-access showers, alongside carrying out simple home repairs, could play a significant role in relieving pressure on the NHS and social care and reduce costs by millions of pounds each year.
The report by the Centre for Ageing Better and the University of West of England, Bristol (UWE, Bristol) also shows that minor home aids and adaptations can greatly improve quality of life for people who are losing mobility. Studies show that people’s difficulties with ‘Activities of Daily Living’ can be reduced by 75% – these include washing, bathing, going to the toilet, dressing and eating. Home aids and adaptations can also increase people’s ability to perform everyday activities by 49%, and reduce depressive symptoms by 53%, the report shows.
Making these kinds of small changes to homes earlier, alongside repairs to homes, should be a greater priority for local services, and could help to avoid or delay use of NHS and social care, the Centre for Ageing Better argues. Its report includes new analysis from the BRE (Building Research Establishment) showing that, installing home adaptations and undertaking home repairs in order to reduce falls on stairs, can lead to savings of £1.62p for every £1 spent, and a payback period of less than eight months. Installing minor home adaptations and making improvements to housing can lead to overall savings of at least £500 million each year to the NHS and social care services in the UK through a 26% reduction in falls, which account for over four million hospital bed days each year in England alone.