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Social care green paper to address improving housing for the elderly

The social care green paper will address issues around the housing needs of older people, Alok Sharma has stated this week.

Speaking at a communities and local government committee meeting yesterday, the housing and planning minister explained that it is important to ensure that more homes are built that older people would want to move into, and that available homes are suitable for the elderly to live in.

He added that high quality housing is important for the health and wellbeing of older people, and that it could reduce the costs of health and social care.

Marcus Jones, local government minister, added: “We already know that if you don’t have a home that is properly insulated or properly heated then that is one of the quickest ways that an older person can deteriorate and fall into a crisis situation, and end up in hospital.”

Sharma revealed that the government is in talks with local authorities and charities that are dedicated to working with older people to determine how the guidance should be structured.

Jones said that the green paper will look at the provision of housing and the “interdependence” of having good quality, fit for purpose housing in order to reduce the number of hospital admissions, and quickly get people back into their homes after a hospital stay.

“We all know that good quality housing is absolutely critical in terms of keeping people out of hospital, getting people back into their own home after they've been in hospital, and making sure that we can get people to live in their own home for as long as is possible and suits that individual,” he explained.

In addition to the green paper, an independent review of building regulations is underway, and its interim findings are expected to be published later this year.

With a quarter of ambulance call outs attending falls of older people in their own home, the ministers were questioned as to whether risk factors such as trip hazards would be designed out of new developments in the future.

Although they were unable to speculate as to what may feature in the independent review, Sharma said that he would “certainly want to reflect on that and whether issues around safety are reflected in it.”

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