Enabling older people to stay at home: How adaptable are existing properties?
Goodacre, K., McCreadie, C., Flanagan, S. and Lansley, P. (2007) Enabling older people to stay at home: How adaptable are existing properties? British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70 (1). pp. 5-15. ISSN 0308-0226
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A multiprofessional research project examined in detail the factors that affect the adaptability of existing housing and explored issues relating to the introduction of assistive technology into the existing homes of older people in order to provide them with the opportunity to 'stay put'. The research reported here investigated the feasibility of adapting the existing stock of social housing and the resulting costs and outcomes of introducing assistive technology. This paper outlines that part of the project that examined in detail the adaptability of 82 properties representing a variety of property types to accommodate the needs of seven notional users, characterising the most common range of impairments of older people. The factors that affect a property's adaptability include property type and specific design and construction features. The implications for housing providers, clients and occupational therapists are discussed. The research identified the unique expertise of occupational therapists, spanning the areas of housing, older people and assistive technology, and it introduced methods and tools that can help to determine best housing outcomes as well as cost implications. It is crucial that the profession is proactive in contributing to the development of housing policies that address the needs of an ageing population effectively.