June 23, 2014
In her evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly Review of Transforming Your Care and Older People about supported housing, Professor Anthea Tinker succinctly summarised the problems and challenges facing communities not just in Northern Ireland, but everywhere. Her presentation, given on 28th May 2014, reviewed ways of transforming care for older people. The official Hansard report of this presentation has just been released.
Northern Ireland is facing the same issues of ageing populations as much of the rest of the UK and Europe. The number of people who are aged 85-plus will almost double by 2025. Professor Tinker set the scene that “this will mean not just a need for more services, particularly housing, but that there will be a drop in the number of people of working age to provide those services. I suppose that the most challenging thing that we all have to face all over the world is the percentage of pensioners who will have dementia: about one in five people aged 85 and over.”
Professor Tinker drew upon research knowledge from across Europe to set out clear issues and themes:-
- Housing is increasingly recognised as being the key ingredient of well-being
- There is a growth in solitary living
- People increasingly want to remain in their own home
- The environment of the homes older people require is an increasingly important consideration
- The shortage of suitable housing for older people
She mentioned examples of good practice that should be brought to the attention of all policy-makers and planners. Some of the schemes Professor Tinker mentioned have been studied by PSSRU including:
- Shared Lives (also known as adult placements) where a family may offer a home and support to someone needing care
- Extra Care Housing
- Whole Systems Demonstrator Project bringing telecare and telehealth systems into the home
- Personal Budgets
Anthea Tinker has been Professor of Social Gerontology at King’s College London since 1988. She has been on the staff of three Universities and three Government Departments and has been a Consultant to the WHO, EU and OECD. She chaired the College Research Ethics Committee from 2001 – 2011.