Researching views on home adaptations

Feb 20, 2017

Research into home adaptations
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Foundations launches campaign to develop deeper understanding of attitudes towards home adaptations

Foundations is the national body for Home Improvement Agencies, also known as Care & Repair. Funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government, it provides support to 200 not-for-profit home improvement and handyperson service providers in England who cover more than 80% of local authority areas.

They have launched a campaign on Crowdfunder to raise money for research into older people’s views on adapted homes.

There is little research to date on attitudes towards home adaptations

Adaptations such as hand rails, level access showers and stairlifts enable people to stay in their own homes. Research published by Foundations has found that such adaptations can delay entry into residential care by four years.

But very little research has examined people’s attitudes towards adaptations. For example, what would spur a person to seek help to adapt their home? What factors would influence how they future-proof a property to ensure they can stay put even if their health deteriorates?

The aim of this research is to better understand the motivations and expectations of people when they are looking to adapt their home, and what information and support they need to make a decision.

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Paul Smith, director of Foundations, had this to say:

“We have an ageing population and growing pressure on health and social care services.

“We know that adaptations and other support can not only help older people to remain in their own homes but live longer, healthier independent lives. People are less likely to be hospitalised and in many cases will require a lower level of social care. But we need to develop a better understanding of what motivates people to seek an adaptation and gauge the level of awareness out there of the support already on offer.

“Supporters of our crowdfunding campaign will enable us to do that and in doing so help home improvement agencies and other support organisations to develop their services and enable more people to enjoy the benefits of adapted homes.”

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Disabled Facilities Grants pay for many essential adaptations

A freedom of information request carried out by Foundations demonstrates just how cost-effective adaptations can be for local authorities. They found that on average, a person moved into residential care at the age of 76, staying there for six years.

People who had received a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) to adapt their home previously, were able to live there for an extra four years, moving into residential care on average before their 80th birthday and staying there for two years.

The same study found that, on average, a DFG amounted to less than £7,000, compared with a place in a care home costing around £29,000 a year.

The savings that can be made by local authorities are therefore very significant.

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£14,500 needed by 31st March

The campaign, which runs until March 31, is seeking to raise £14,500 to fund the research. There are a number of sponsorship opportunities available to supporters.

The Crowdfunder page can be found here: (it will open in a new browser)

The 13-week research project will be carried out by Years Ahead, a consultancy that specialises in independent living, and will involve between 350 and 500 people.

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