Failure to spot mental health needs in older people leads to their eviction

Older people are being evicted from sheltered housing because
their needs are inadequately assessed, a consortium of sheltered
housing schemes has warned.

Some older people are ending up in council emergency
accommodation, including B&Bs, after being evicted from
sheltered housing for antisocial behaviour, the Emerging Role of
Sheltered Housing (Erosh) told the National Sheltered Housing
Conference in Harrogate last week.

Only when in emergency accommodation will social services assess
their needs and identify behaviour problems, for example mental
health issues, and place them in psychiatric hospitals or long-term
residential care, said Erosh.

The concerns follow research that examined the cases of 20 older
people evicted in one month from four London sheltered housing
schemes. Seven were evicted for antisocial behaviour, including
abusive or violent behaviour, terrorising neighbours and playing
their music and televisions too loud. Others were evicted for non
payment. Some were reported as throwing their wheelchairs about and
wandering naked around their housing schemes.

Erosh deputy chair Meic Phillips said wardens should alert
social services of behavioural problems before evicting.

The consortium is calling for local protocols to be put in place
detailing which information can be shared between health, social
services and the police.

“Social services and the police often say landlords do not need
to know, but if a person has a history of violence or a drug and
alcohol problem the landlord needs to see whether he can manage
that person,” said Phillips.

The National Wardens Association said behaviour problems in
sheltered housing was a “growing problem” and access to medical
history in certain cases was vital.

An Age Concern spokesperson said: “The chronic under-funding of
all areas of social care for older people means many do not get the
right support to meet their needs. Older people should be able to
get the services they need, when they need them.”

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