MORE than two million older people are suffering physical and mental ill health and even death, as a consequence of living in substandard and non-accessible homes.

Poor housing costs the National Health Service £1.4bn every year with cold, damp and other hazards causing falls and exacerbating conditions such as heart disease, strokes, respiratory illnesses and arthritis as well as contributing to poor mental health.

A recent inquiry into decent and accessible homes for older people has highlighted a clear link between housing, health and care and that living in poor quality housing can have a detrimental impact on older people’s physical and mental wellbeing. However, due to the shortage locally of accessible, affordable homes for older people, once residing within houses which become unsuitable, it’s very difficult to find alternative housing, often leaving us with no option but to remain within unsafe and unhealthy environments. It is easy to become ‘used to’ the setting we live in, but when we consider the risks to our health, it is worth taking action to explore alternative housing options before our homes become a danger to our independence. There is no overnight fix so thinking ahead and making plans for the future is vital. This does not have to mean moving house - we should consider what improvements or alterations could be made to our homes to make them safer and suitable for our needs to ensure we can live healthily, safely and independently, for as long as possible.

Telephone 030-300-30003 for further information – don’t let your housing define your future health.