Australia isn’t the only place where a change to home design is being demanded by various advocacy groups and social policy organisations. The HoMe Coalition in the UK is making similar demands for all new homes to be accessible for everyone. The UK experience with accessibility as Part M of the building code shows how the absolute minimum, that is a level entry and a toilet on the ground floor, is insufficient for being able to live safely and comfortably as people age. So a review is needed.
Anna Dixon, chief executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, which co-chairs the coalition, said:
“Too many people are today living in homes that limit their independence, as we face a dangerous shortage of homes that are accessible and adaptable. While it’s not inevitable, the likelihood is that most of us will experience disability or difficulties with activities of daily living at some point in our later life. And with more of us living for longer, this dire lack of accessible homes represents a ticking timebomb.”
Dixon also said that keeping people safe at home means we need homes with accessible features. It prevents avoidable admissions to hospital and institutional care: “Every £1 spent on housing adaptations are worth more than £2 in care savings and quality of life gains.”
HoME (Housing Made for Everyone) is predicting a “dangerous shortage” of suitable homes in the future, with only one new accessible home to be built for every 15 people over the age of 65 by 2030. And that’s in urban areas – it’s much less in rural areas. HoME has an Accessible Housing Charter with seven actions including all new homes to be accessible .
See also briefing paper: Homes and ageing in England by the department of public health. At the end it has case studies that show the costs and savings of doing renovations.