Housing 21: Personalisation ‘could undermine extra care’

A leading housing provider has warned that personalisation of care services could “undermine” specialist housing provision for older people.

A report launched today by Housing 21 found that the use of personal budgets was threatening the provision of extra care housing, which provides round-the-clock on-site care for older people.

The authors claimed that as commissioners move away from block contracts towards personal budgets, residents could be left without the on-site care element due to their lack of collective bargaining power.

Extra care ‘greatly valued’

Research carried out by Housing 21 also found that many older people greatly valued extra care housing because it engenders a sense of community spirit and personal wellbeing.

The report urged specialist housing providers to get involved with the personalisation agenda and to raise housing and care issues directly with local authority commissioners.

Joint author Sarah Vallelly said: “It was striking to hear older people themselves say that some elements of personalisation could undermine the whole idea of extra care housing and make them feel nervous for their future.”

Need for sustainability

Housing 21 chief executive Melinda Phillips added: “Our report offers some clear evidence for both commissioners and policy makers of the value that older people place on sheltered and extra care housing, and the need to ensure its future sustainability.”

The report also called for housing providers to listen more to their residents. A survey conducted by Housing 21 at its national tenants conference found that 88% of older tenants wanted more of a say in the way their housing and support services were developed.

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