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16 May 2016

Effectively providing for your elderly and disabled tenants

- Written by Ash Bath


Effectively providing for your elderly and disabled tenants

Research by the Smith Institute forecasts that by 2034 there will be 170,000 more residents with mobility problems living in housing association properties and 45,000 more with serious memory loss problems

The average life expectancy of people in the UK is increasing, however this does not mean they will live longer in good health. The truth is, as the average age of elderly people grows, so too does the number of people requiring assistance due to illness or reduced mobility in later life. In addition to this, disabled people are twice as likely as non-disabled people to be social housing tenants, which means that housing associations have a growing list of requirements they need to provide for. With tight budgets already impacting the sector, how is it possible to create safe and inclusive housing without breaking the bank? Well, here’s a few ideas…

Overcoming tenant turnaround

One of the largest costs associated with developing a property to meet the needs of a disabled or elderly tenant is not the initial investment, it’s the reinvestment needed to change the property back once the tenant vacates. This developing then redeveloping approach is costly and time-consuming, meaning people who are in need of accommodation have to wait longer while the work is done. However, there are innovative solutions. Industry-leading inclusive living products can be installed quickly and easily, but more importantly, can be removed just as quickly. For example, a conventional family bathroom with a bath can be quickly and easily adapted into a level-access wet room. At a later stage, the bath can be refitted to the bathroom without any additional works and even changed back to a wet room if the need arose again in the future. Not only does this type of product ensure the tenant’s needs are met, it also means that costs are kept down and the housing association budget can stretch much further.

Kitchens and bathrooms

In any property, the kitchen and the bathroom pose the biggest threat to safety. With outlets for hot water, cooking equipment, and slippery surfaces, these spaces can cause significant harm to elderly or disabled tenants. So, when it comes to purchasing and installing inclusive living products, be sure to look for suppliers that offer a variety of specialised solutions for these rooms. For example, movable worktops that support sinks and hobs mean that a kitchen can be used by both a person in a wheelchair and also by someone that’s not. Most importantly though, ensure you look for products and solutions that are both easy to fit, and also easy to remove. This approach will provide safety and quality of life, without the need for continued capital investment from the housing association.

Design and style

With any product being introduced to a housing association property, there is always a need to ensure it is 100% safe, and places minimal risk on the organisation. So, when it comes to introducing inclusive living solutions to your properties, look to only work with industry-leading companies that have designed their products with the help of an occupational therapist. This will help to not only ensure the safety of the user, but also to minimise the business risk.

Additionally, these types of solutions have a reputation as being bland and unattractive, however times have changed. Contemporary inclusive living solutions incorporate modern design elements and fit perfectly within any home, to ensure that not only do tenants have a better quality of life, but also have a home they can be proud of.

If you’d like to find out more about inclusive living solutions that reduce your renovation costs while keeping your tenants safe, speak to us today on 1905 823 298 or email sales@akw-ltd.co.uk or Contact Us


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