Two University of Stirling-led reports looking at housing and ageing and the impact of housing support services on the quality of life of older people have been praised by the Scottish Parliament.
Housing and Ageing: Linking strategy to future delivery for Scotland, Wales and England 2030 was presented to the Parliament’s think tank, Futures Forum, by Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing, Dr Vikki McCall. The Forum aims to promote research and inform MSPs by stimulating debate on the long-term challenges and opportunities that Scotland faces.
A second research study, Housing through the lens of Ageing: Integration, Communication and Community, which was co-produced by charity Age Scotland and the University’s Faculty of Social Sciences, took centre stage at a debate tabled by Conservative Housing spokesperson, Graham Simpson MSP. As well as welcoming the publication of the report, politicians commended the data gathered and applauded the research team for progressing thinking around the role of housing in the quality of life of older people in Scotland.
Initial findings from the research were published earlier this year and highlighted the significance of a housing support initiative which aids elderly and disabled homeowners to continue to live independently. ‘Scotland’s Care and Repair’ housing service allows residents to fix, improve or adapt their homes and was found to help relieve NHS hospitals of the complex challenge of delayed discharge, by allowing patients to return home and live in comfort and safety.
Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing Faculty of Social Sciences
I believe the debate has shown consensus around focusing on the future of housing through the lens of preparing for ageing. We have to keep the momentum going to secure services, investment and promote the voices of older people in that process.
Dr McCall said: “We are utterly delighted to see so much interest and support of our research on housing and ageing across the political spectrum in Scotland. I believe the debate has shown consensus around focusing on the future of housing through the lens of preparing for ageing. We have to keep the momentum going to secure services, investment and promote the voices of older people in that process.”
Jim Eadie, Age Scotland’s policy officer for Housing, said: “We found simple, preventative services such as fitting a new key safe to allow carers to enter a home, adding hand rails or raising electric sockets, for example, had a huge impact on an older person’s quality of life. The Care and Repair scheme supports people to live independently in their own homes for longer and allows those who have been treated in hospital to return home to an adapted and safe environment.
“Despite its benefits, the quality of the service varies hugely across Scotland. Many areas, including West Lothian, Ayrshire and Inverclyde, no longer support the scheme and this could impact an older person’s ability to live safely and comfortably in their own home.”
Mr Simpson who led the debate in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 29 January, said: “The number of people aged 75 and over is projected to increase by 27 per cent over the next 10 years, and by 79 per cent over the next 25 years. That gives us a clear set of challenges.
“We all want to help older people to live independently and safely in their own homes for as long as possible; it is better for them and it is better for strained public services. The availability of Care and Repair and handyman services should be consistent across councils. There should be no postcode lottery when it comes to accessing these services.”
View the parliamentary debate on the Scotland's Futures Forum website.