Can adapting the homes of older people and providing assistive technology pay its way?
Lansley, P., McCreadie, C. and Tinker, A. (2004) Can adapting the homes of older people and providing assistive technology pay its way? Age and Ageing, 33 (6). pp. 571-576. ISSN 0002-0729
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afh190
Background: Adaptations and assistive technology (AT) have an important role in enabling older people to remain in their own homes. Objective: To measure the feasibility and cost of adaptations and AT, and the scope for these to substitute and supplement formal care. Design: Detailed design studies to benchmark the adaptability of 82 properties against the needs of seven notional users. Setting: Social rented housing sector. Main outcome measures: Measures of the adaptability of properties, costs of care, adaptations and AT, and relationships between these costs. Results: The adaptability of properties varies according to many design factors and the needs of occupiers. The most adaptable properties were ground floor flats and bungalows; the least were houses, maisonettes and flats in converted houses. Purpose-built sheltered properties were generally more adaptable than corresponding mainstream properties but the opposite was the case for bungalows. Adaptations and AT can substitute for and supplement formal care, and in most cases the initial investment in adaptations and AT is recouped through subsequently lower care costs within the average life expectancy of a user. Conclusion: Appropriately selected adaptations and AT can make a significant contribution to the provision of living environments which facilitate independence. They can both substitute for traditional formal care services and supplement these services in a cost-effective way.