More than 2 million older people live in poor properties in England, causing them to suffer long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and respiratory problems, a report has revealed.
Poor housing that is cold, damp, hazardous and inaccessible costs the NHS £1.4bn every year because of the impact it has on older people’s physical and mental health.
It creates obstacles to remaining independent and means many older people are forced to spend more time in hospital because their homes are unsuitable or ill-equipped to allow them to be discharged.
The report, published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Ageing and Older People, looked to gain insight into the challenges older people face in different housing tenures and understand the connection between poor housing standards and public health concerns.
‘For the UK’s 1.4 million people over the age of 65 with unmet care needs, everyday essential tasks like getting out of bed, going to the toilet or getting dressed are inextricably linked to their living circumstances and are often made worse by poor housing conditions,’ said the report.
‘We must make it possible to improve the condition of the current housing stock so that older people living in their homes are safe and well. It is also crucial that local authorities are able to plan and build new general purpose homes in the UK that are fully accessible, adaptable and built for life.’
The APPG made 13 recommendations including the government integrate housing issues with health and care strategies, ensuring they are incorporated into planning frameworks and strategies.
It also recommended government legislate to ensure all new homes are built to lifetime standard, restore funding to a comprehensive national housing advice service for older and disabled people and increase the Disabled Facilities Grant.