Information Now

Info NOW News special: housing options and choices

Our feature issue: housing options and choices

Housing choices as we get older

According to the Specialist Housing Delivery Plan, published in November 2017, the vision for people in Newcastle is that “People have access to a range of housing options and support to help them remain independent for as long as possible in a home of their choice’.  However, the House of Commons Report, Housing for Older People, published in February 2018, reveals that “people rarely made plans for later life, with most moving in response to a health shock—the emergence of a care need in them or their partner”.

So how do we plan ahead?  Do we anticipate that ageing will naturally bring about concerns with our health – reduced mobility, frailty, medical conditions, as well as anticipate financial constraints owing to redundancy, early retirement, reduced pensions, supporting our family, cost of repairs and home maintenance? Or, do we plough on, whilst reviewing our personal circumstances from time to time? Perhaps there is no “right” answer.

Whilst we know that each person’s situation is unique, we have designed Information NOW with the help of focus groups and the Elders Council, to give you the information you need to consider your future as you get older.  The following sections cover some of our key pieces of information about housing and who can help you make decisions about your future.

Care & Repair Newcastle, together with Newcastle City Council, have worked with First Stop to enhance their Housing options for Older People (HOOP tool), with a view to enabling you to think about your housing options, quality of life and living independently, now and in the future.

Newcastle residents that ring 0800 377 7070 are invited to ‘Press 2’ to receive a call back from one of their advisors. Paper versions will be available soon locally, but in the meantime, you can download a questionnaire.

Doorbells – dreaming for the future

There are times when the written word doesn’t really help you envisage how you will be living in a few years time or even twenty years time. We’d like to encourage you to watch a short film by Skimstone Arts, that dramatises the changes that we may live through: children moving away, loss of a partner, leaving work, managing the home on your own and feeling socially isolated. This is a thought-provoking opportunity to think about how and where you’d like to live, supported by Elders Council and Care & Repair England.

Our health and wellbeing is vital to both independence and quality of life.  It is important to stay connected with friends and family, make new friends and find new hobbies or interests to engage you.  Information NOW has articles on: finding friends, finding a partner, hobbies, connecting online and an events and activities calendar showing what is available across Newcastle.

Housing options including specialist housing

Safe, warm, secure housing is central to a person’s health and wellbeing, to their ability to enjoy and take part in community life, to their ability to work and access education and training and to retire comfortably.  Public Health England has published Homes for Health which lays out some strategies and guidance on the relationship between home and health.

The Newcastle City Council Specialist Housing delivery plan 2017 – 2021 sets out both a vision and forward plan to make it possible for people to live in their own homes for longer if they want to, perhaps with adaptations, telecare, regular home care services or to retire to a village or complex  that keeps you connected and makes amenities and services accessible.  It also reveals that the Council, with partners, is exploring  ways to deliver affordable social care rent options, older people’s bungalows and apartments as well as Future Homes, where a person can grow old and make changes to their home (which is energy efficient and adaptable) as lifestyles change.   This plan will be updated from time to time.

Information NOW has a series of articles to help you think about your present and future housing needs:

Housing options for older people
Thinking about moving home
The practicalities of moving home
Buying or renting ordinary housing
Security for your home

Energy and heating

It is important to ensure that you are keeping your home warm and to seek help if you need advice on how to manage.  The 2017 annual fuel poverty statistics show that, since 2013, the proportion of households aged 75 and over in fuel poverty has been increasing.  Fuel poverty can be caused by inefficient energy use in the home, low income and paying high energy prices.

The impact of living in a cold home on a person’s physical and mental health can be severe.  According to Sue Adams, Care and Repair England, there is a well-evidenced link between cold homes and chronic diseases, such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis, and poor mental health. Cold homes are connected to acute medical problems including: heart attacks, strokes and falls.

Read our Information NOW Energy saving tips article and make yourself familiar with our articles on Cold Weather Payment and Winter Fuel Payments as well as Warm Home Discount.

Energy Services Newcastle can offer advice to residents in Newcastle about energy use in the home, how to reduce fuel bills, and how to keep warm.  Ring 0191 278 3427.  You can also contact Citizens  Advice Newcastle. Ring 0370 145 1450.

Maintenance and repairs

It is important to keep up with maintenance and repairs in your home.  If you cannot manage these yourself then you may want to find someone reliable to help you.  Hazards in the home, such as worn carpets and raised/dropped steps can cause a fall which may lead to a period of immobility and fear of falling again.  You may also find that a medical condition or caring for someone brings on fatigue so that you can’t do the handy jobs you used to do.  Information NOW has a series of articles which signpost you to who can help you with:
Repairs and decorating
Home adaptations, equipment and aids
and Care & Repair Newcastle who help with grants, loans and partner with First Stop on the HOOP tool that helps you consider your housing needs.

Care options and financing care

A survey in 2015 of 1389 people aged 50 or over, by the Centre for Ageing Better found that “most people in later life do not intend moving and wish to continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible”.  If you are If you are having problems managing at home you may have care and support needs. Information NOW has a number of articles that explain what services are available, how to get an assessment of your needs and how to pay for your care at home:
Care and Support
Home Care
Your care: needs assessments

There are also a series of articles which cover “help to stay at home” including: bottle in the fridge scheme, cleaning and shopping services and personal alarm systems and telecare.

Moving into a care home or to live with family may be an option for you if you need more care and support than you can manage.  This may be identified through your needs assessment. You will have to consider  whether you need nursing care, or standard personal care, as this will affect the decision.

Information NOW has articles on Choosing a care home and Moving in with relatives.


Research study on Housing preferences

If you are looking to move home in the next two years and are aged 50 or over, you can take part in this research study and be in with the chance of winning an £100 Intu shopping vouchers. Dr Dominic Aitken at Newcastle University is looking for people to complete a questionnaire on their housing preferences. Please note people looking to move into rented accommodation are not eligible. All respondents will be entered into the prize draw. If you would be interested in completing a questionnaire, please contact Dominic

Last updated: September 28, 2018

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