Housing a vital part of health care
Scotland’s ageing population will place increasingly heavy demands on the housing sector, a major conference in Glasgow heard today.Scotland’s ageing population will place increasingly heavy demands on the housing sector, a major conference in Glasgow heard today.
The 800 public and private sector delegates were warned that Scotland could face a crisis in service delivery if it does not prepare properly for the growing number of older people in our society.
Craig Stirrat, Chair of the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, said developing a national strategy for older people’s housing was a priority and assessment of housing support should be integrated with identification of any care needs.
"As care is moved from the hospital to home, it means that more tenants will receive health care at home and may require adaptations or other help to enable them to do so," he said. "The balance is therefore shifting towards the housing sector.
"When care in the community first progressed, there was a recognition that more support was required if the needs of those leaving a care setting were to be met. However in this second phase there does not seem to be any extra resources. This has to be addressed through an appropriate level of investment in both new and existing homes – housing after all is a key part of Scotland’s health provision."
Speaking at CIH Scotland’s annual conference, being held in Glasgow this week for the first time, he acknowledged that technological link-ups to older people in their homes could play a part, particularly in rural areas: "At a time when we are seeking greater efficiency in the way we deliver services, we have a responsibility to promote the positive message that assistive technologies like telehealthcare are a part of the future landscape.
"The private sector is also a hugely important partner in this as the majority of older people do not live in social rented housing."
The event, attended by housing professionals and others from councils, housing associations, the private sector, charities and government, heard that the impact of the recession, coupled with feared cuts in public expenditure, was likely to mean for a difficult few years ahead for the sector.
In addition, the Scottish Government’s current Housing Bill would reform the Right to Buy, introduce the new social housing regulator and change the law on registering private landlords and dealing with disrepair.
Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil is among the speakers in three days of discussion and debates on issues ranging from homelessness and tackling anti social behaviour to climate change and zero carbon homes.
Industry leaders addressing the event include Lord Mawson OBE on how to be a social entrepreneur, and Mr Twilight Bey, from Los Angeles, on how to engage hard to reach young people.