This Example of Practice focuses on a range of initiatives within one specialist older person’s housing complex which included straight forward design enhancements and provision of respite accommodation. There were two overarching issues:
- the design and accessibility of specialist older person’s housing common areas and the impact this has on older people’s capacity to be involved in social interaction opportunities; and
- the aim to improve the range of respite options available to older people and their carers.
It was identified that participation from tenants and older people from the wider community was significantly hampered by the design and layout of specialist older person’s housing common areas. The accessibility issues to access the common room coupled with the design of the actual common areas had resulted in some instances that tenants were unable to gain access to the common areas unaided and when using the common areas were particularly limited in their capacity to engage in activities safely.
The common areas were accessed via traditional fire doors and the design although a relatively new build purpose built specialist development presented challenges for older people who had a memory problem, physical disability or frailty or visual impairment.
Access to social opportunities and engagement in meaningful activities is crucial in maintaining and improving health and wellbeing and is of particular importance within specialist older persons housing in helping older people feel socially included and connected within their communities.
Improving support for carers was also identified as a priority and the development of new respite provision within the specialist older person’s housing complex was also an objective.