Housing choice can ‘pay big dividends’ for people needing care

Paul Burstow, SCIE chair

Housing options need to improve so people in later life have better access to care and support services if they need.

A discussion document, published by the Commission on the Role of Housing in the Future of Care and Support, sets out policy proposals and actions to consider, such as encouraging developers to increase investment in appropriate housing, reform in the planning system and a clear regulatory framework for retirement communities.

It said prevention needed to be at the heart of any strategy.

The report, the first from the commission, provides an overview of issues facing the sector and outlines a vision and preliminary ideas.

The commission was set up to develop an evidence-based plan for housing in the future of care and support. It is looking at care homes, retirement communities, retirement housing, supported living and shared lives, and aims to influence government thinking on its long-term plan for social care.

‘The government’s health and care white paper has a large housing shaped hole at its heart,’ said the commission’s chair, Paul Burstow, who also chairs Social Care Institute for Excellence. ‘The white paper is all about integrating health and care – getting the right housing options can pay big dividends for people in later life when they have care and support needs.

‘Now is the time for a national strategy that invests in dramatically increasing the number and choice of places to live that provide access to personalised care. Above all we need a change in mindsets so that housing, care and support go hand-in-hand and are sustainable.’

The commission has also identified features that need to be addressed, including housing being in the right place, promoting independence, and co-production and shared decision-making.