In a 2013 survey, leading disability charity The Papworth Trust interviewed hundreds of disabled and older people, their families and carers about their homes. They found that 1 in 4 people reported that they could not get around their home safely and 2 in 5 respondents said the accessibility of their home meant they needed help to do everyday things like cooking.
So what does this growing unmet need for home adaptations really cost us? Unsafe homes are one of the main causes of falls and fractures in people aged 65+. Falls and fractures in this age group (including 70,000 hip fractures) account for over 4 million hospital bed days each year in England and Healthcare costs associated with these fragility fractures are estimated at £2billion a year. Falls often lead to reduced functional ability and thus increased dependency on families, carers and services, putting an even greater strain on the already stretched health and social care system.
By investing in adaptations, we could:
- Reduce the risk of falls by 60% in each home that has had an adaptation
- Vastly reduce the amount of hospital visits by those in at risk groups
- Save up to £4.00 for every £1.00 spent on adaptations
- Save up to £73,000 per person for a typical home adaptation
Home adaptation costs are usually much lower than the home carer costs they eliminate the need for. Savings are often greatest where bathing independence can be maintained. A typical home adaptation, costing £7,000, can delay entry to residential care by up to 4 years, saving up to £73,000 per person 7 (based on average home costs of £20,000 per year). Replacing baths with level access showers and fitting grab rails around the house etc. can reduce the risk of falls by 60% 8. With the average cost of a hip fracture being £28,665 savings made from fall reduction alone can be significant.