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BRE Group Researcher Website
Last edited 28 Jul 2016

Homes and ageing in England

BRE (Building Research Establishment) is an independent, research-based consultancy, testing and training organisation, operating in the built environment and associated industries.

The BRE Briefing Paper, Homes and ageing in England was written by Helen Garrett and Selina Burris, and published in November 2015 on behalf of Public Health England. It is available to download free of charge.

The paper uses English Housing Survey data and the research methodology used for The costs of poor housing to the NHS to give an overview of housing conditions for older people and to estimate the cost of the poor housing occupied by the older population to the NHS in England.

It is aimed at professionals and academics working in housing and health. In the foreword, Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing Public Health England suggests that it ‘…provides much needed evidence that can be used by local government and health services in respect of older people. It is very relevant to the preparation of Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies, through using this new information to help build a strong cross-agency housing dimension to health plans and for understanding the returns on investment that can be made across sectors.’

The briefing paper reveals that:

  • More than a million homes occupied people over 55 were a significant risk to health, including excess cold, injury from falling on poorly designed steps, and so on.
  • Treating the resulting illnesses and injuries cost the NHS more than £600m a year.
  • More than one fifth of all older household groups lived in a home that failed to meet the Decent Homes standard in 2012.
  • 780,000 households aged 55 and over were in fuel poverty.
  • The proportion of older households living in a home with all four accessibility features (level access, flush threshold, WC at entrance level and sufficiently wide doors and circulation space) was similar for all aged groups, ranging from 4% for those aged 55-64 years to 7% for those aged 80 years or over.
  • Around a fifth of homes occupied by those aged 65 and over had none of the four accessibility features, and this proportion was higher for households aged 55- 64 (24%).

The paper provides costings and case studies for a range of remedial works that can be undertaken, and calculates pay-back periods for them.

The contents are:

  • Overview
  • Household characteristics
  • Dwelling characteristics
  • Housing Conditions
  • The Costs to the NHS
  • Case studies
  • References
  • Appendix

--BRE Group

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