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Research to help improve housing for older Londoners

Posted on 18 May 2018

We funded Age UK to carry out a survey of more than 170 of our older residents living in Brent and Lambeth. It found that one in five residents didn’t know where they would turn for support if their needs changed.  

Unless they already had a disability or specific housing need, they reported things were okay or that they were able to look after themselves and had no intention of considering the future challenges they may face until it became a reality that needed to be confronted.

In the main, residents were happy with the size of their homes (82%) and the majority did not express any wish to move. However, of the small proportion surveyed that did, a lack of suitable options in their local area and difficulty using online allocation systems were the main issues they experienced.

Susan Stockwell, Group Director of Customer Services and Operations said: "Whilst we address the changing needs of our ageing residents well, we can’t always offer immediate support once a crisis occurs. That’s why we would encourage our residents to consider their future needs and let us know as soon as possible about any age-related challenges we can help with as their landlord. We want our homes and communities to be age-friendly environments that enable residents to lead fulfilling and independent lives."

Unsurprisingly, the research revealed the main issues experienced by older people, or causing concern for them when they look to the future, were:

  • Mobility issues in relation to staircases (both in communal areas and within the home)
  • Being able to afford rent and outgoings
  • Health issues resulting in a need to make adaptations to the home
  • Support with dementia
  • Support to care for a significant other
  • Being able to visit family or access local shops and services
  • Fear of living alone and no one knowing if something happened to them

In recognition of the specific needs of some older residents, we work with older residents to increase their health and well-being, including building digital skills. Our safeguarding policies also ensure that service adjustments are made for vulnerable older residents and they are helped to access appropriate specialist external support services.

Head of Hyde Foundation Jahanara Rajkoomar said: "Many of the concerns raised in this research are reflected in the Mayor’s London Housing Strategy and current legislation. We welcome this focus on reducing the impact of challenges on people in their later years and will work in partnership to embed good practice recommendations."