Older people - Moving on or staying put? The need for a new service

There is often a common assumption amongst the public, policy makers and service providers that older people prefer to age in their own homes and do not like to think about moving elsewhere.

There is however a growing body of research showing that, if given a chance, some may wish to consider relocating to accommodation more suitable to later life preferences and needs.

Insights from practitioners, who help older people to remain independent in their own homes through services offered by the different agencies of Care&Repair Cymru, are also suggesting that there may be a hidden or ‘latent’ demand for a new service designed to support older people through the process of taking the practical steps involved in moving home. 

CADR Workshop 2016

The Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research – CADR recently held a ‘knowledge exchange’ workshop to discuss key findings from its own research evaluation of a new“Moving On” service funded through the Intermediate Care Fund, and recently piloted in North Wales. The service, which was developed by Care & Repair Canllaw, Porthmadog was designed specifically to help older people through the “moving home” journey, including renters or home owners. It was piloted with older people who had chosen to move into a new extra-care housing complex.

 

CADR Workshop 2016 2

The event drew participants from a broad range of public and third sector organisations including representation from several Care & Repair agencies, ABMU Health Board, Community Housing, Welsh Government, Carmarthenshire and Powys County Councils, Shared Lives Plus, Melin Homes, RNIB Cymru, Melin and Coastal Housing.

The commissioned research was carried out by Associate Professor Sarah Hillcoat- Nallétamby, academic expert in social policy and ageing, and Dr Alexandra V. Sardani from the College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University.

Commenting on the workshop, Associate Professor Hillcoat- Nallétamby said:

“It was a small study, so we would need to evaluate something on a bigger scale to generalise about the service’s implications for wellbeing and policy, but it’s clear that some older people are thinking about moving, do appreciate some advice or support with the process other than from family or friends, and will take the opportunity to move home if conditions are right. Some of them were what I’d call “proactive thinkers” – wanting to make their own choices about moving whilst conditions are right for them, rather than being forced into a last minute decision if circumstances change unexpectedly.”

Some of the key findings from the Moving On: Qualitative Service Evaluation were that:

  • thinking about whether to move or stay part can be an “emotional roller coster” journey; some clients said that the information, practical and emotional support offered by service providers was key to helping them make their final decisions;
  • making these decisions can take time – this means that a “moving on” service could be helpful at different stages of this process (e.g. planning, actual move and settling in afterwards)
  • clients in the North Wales pilot area benefitted from a range of services including information or practical support (finding removal companies or solicitors, changing energy suppliers, etc.), help with the “emotional journey” of moving home, or simply the opportunity to “talk through” possible scenarios about future housing options
  • for some, the practicalities of moving were only made possible because they received a small financial subsidy towards the costs of removal companies. For others, they saw the benefit of the service but decided to rely on family and friends to help them
  • once they had moved into the extra-care facility, several clients told us their quality of life had improved – more opportunities to socialise, relief from the worries of home maintenance, the choice of cooking at home or benefitting from the restaurant facilities in the extra-care setting. Others were still adjusting to the transition and would have liked more help with settling in to their new environments
  • The research shows that there is a role for this type of “moving on” service, not just as a one-off intervention, but as a resource that older people can draw on throughout the decision-making, relocation and post-relocation phases. The main advantage of this type of service is that it puts older people “in the driving seat” when it comes to making informed choices about housing options.

Based on interest generated by the workshop, CADR, along with local third sector partners from housing and social care sectors, is planning a free, public event in November of this year at the Swansea Civic Centre to provide more research evidence and information about housing choices in later life.

Contact S.Hillcoat-Nalletamby@swansea.ac.uk for a copy of the full report Moving On: Qualitative Service Evaluation.

  • The College of Human and Health Sciences is the largest provider of health care education in Wales, providing an exciting and dynamic environment in which to study and further an academic or professional career. The College of draws together the disciplines of health, nursing, midwifery, social care, social policy and psychology. Find out more about the College of Human and Health Sciences here: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/humanandhealthsciences/
  • The College of Human and Health Sciences’ mission is to conduct high quality international research that meets the needs of the people of south-west Wales and beyond. In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 our researchers in ageing studies, social work and social carework, were the best in Wales for the originality, significance and rigour of their research, while also being ranked 14th in the UK.  Psychology was ranked in the UK top-30 in its field and first in the UK for the impact of its research. Find out more about research at the College of Human and Health Sciences here: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/humanandhealthsciences/research/our-research/

Swansea University’s BSc in Social Policy ranked 2nd in the UK in the recent Guardian leagues tables for 2016-17. For more information about the programme follow the link: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/human-and-health-sciences/bschonssocialpolicy/#key-features=is-collapsed

Pictures: Images form the interactive session held during the workshop.