Integrated by Design: Emerging Trends in Older People’s Housing

By PRP – 15 May 2014

PRP’s new report, entitled ‘Integrated by Design’ – Housing and Care for Older People in the United Kingdom: Current Provision and Emerging Trends, has just been published.

The report is aimed at a broad readership within the industry including housing and care providers across the private and public sectors and local and central government.

The scope of the report provides some background in terms of demographics, the current political and economic context in terms of policy and funding initiatives. It outlines, for those less familiar with the sector, current housing and care provision strategy. It makes the case for building a range of specialist housing typologies to meet the demands of a diverse market for older people ranging from those who need little or no care to those with acute or long-term conditions requiring 24 hour care.

The main focus of the report, however, focusses on the emerging trend towards greater integration, not only in relation to the government’s initiative through the Better Care Fund for greater efficiency and a more co-ordinated approach by the hitherto silo’d Health and Adult Services, but in all respects. It charts the journey we have been on over the past four decades during which time we have shifted our philosophy from institutional care to ever greater integration by embracing older people at the heart of our residential communities; integration through mixing tenure; integration in terms of intergenerational housing to create sustainable communities and integration by design so that provision for older people is no longer distinguished from mainstream housing either stylistically or in terms of location.

It is now generally acknowledged that the great majority of people will remain in their own homes in the community as they get older and need more care and support. This is both through choice and economic necessity as we cannot afford to build vast numbers of new specialist homes. However, that said, there is a distinct shortage of attractive new accommodation available for those who might wish, and can afford, to downsize. This, at a time when ever greater numbers of older people are under-occupying family homes creating a log-jam in the housing market.

The report calls, particularly at local authority level, for a greater awareness and engagement with the issues of an ageing population and a more holistic approach in facilitating new housing development for older people across the public and private sectors whilst creating care and support networks for those choosing to remain in their own homes.