Housing decisions in later life
As people age their homes often become unsuitable, contributing to poor quality of life, health and wellbeing. Yet many struggle to make difficult decisions about buying in services, moving or adapting their home. As a result they ‘stay put’ without adequate preparation for later life. Unsuitable homes often lead to accidents, loss of confidence, rapid health decline, and substantial and avoidable costs to health and social care budgets.
Local authorities have a duty to ensure that people have access to information and advice to help them make good decisions about care and support, including preventative measures such as attention to their home circumstances. Yet cost constraints and lack of expertise make this challenging. Few authorities or voluntary organisations can provide the personal ‘housing options’ advice they would like to. We therefore want to explore the extent to which a ‘self-serve’ web-based tool could help deliver housing options information and advice to older people.
We want to achieve a solution that is transferable to other urban and diverse authority areas, and so plan to work with Haringey and Islington councils in addition to Greater Manchester (GM) authorities on this project.
The Housing Options for Older People (HOOP) tool has been developed over 20 years by the charity EAC, from a written template to guide conversations with older people to a website delivering immediate suggestions and information related to each of 74 possible concerns grouped under 9 topic areas.
During 2017-18 we took a keen interest as the HOOP tool was further developed, piloted and evaluated in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, as a fully localised, free-to-use website for the small South Cambs district.
Evaluation results were very promising. 70% of HOOP users said it provided all the information they needed, and just 5% requested a follow-up personal advice session. We are persuaded that HOOP could in principle deliver a quality service equally to older people in the metropolitan areas we represent, and wish to commission further development, localisation, large scale road testing and evaluation of HOOP across GM and in London.
- Digital leadership training (for council leaders, service managers or senior executives)
- Digital and agile awareness