Housing providers: adapt to what people need
We are all aware of the Government’s wish for people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. But maybe housing providers need to rise to the challenge, in adaptation of existing stock, and developers in building more appropriate accommodation in the first place…
Of the UK’s 26+m households, almost 2million have at least one person who needs some adaptation, with simple changes in the bathroom being the top most common requirements.
There is a shortage, too, of housing specially designed to meet disabled people’s needs.
Yet, from a commercial viewpoint, this is one sector worth accommodating: the number of disabled people in the UK has increased 10% in less than a decade! And housebuilders for the private and social sectors should be constructing to ‘lifetime homes’ criteria, which include basics such as level access thresholds, a downstairs toilet…..
Is it that hard to build to level access in the first place? To make doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair? To install a shower (and ideally a level access one) or wetroom rather than a bath? None of these have a major impact on the build cost, but all have a major impact on the quality of life for subsequent occupants.
One could argue that such initial considerations also reduce the person’s likelihood to require greater carer input in the future, as their needs change, as the home is more easily adapted to their needs- be it enabling them to move around in a wheelchair, have a seat added for the shower, a lift added to the toilet…That reduces the pressure on social care budgets.