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New generation of future-proofers

Published on 16 July 2015 12:01 AM

A fifth of people in their 60s are adapting their homes to grow old with them.

New research from Age UK Trading has found that 1 in 5 people aged 60 to 69 are making adaptations to their homes to make them suitable for their needs as they age.

Over a quarter of those who had made the changes believe thinking about the future is important in order to ensure they can stay in their homes for as long as possible, while 1 in 10 say their independence and wanting to manage on their own are the reasons behind the adaptations.

The group are dubbed the ‘future-proofers' because of their desire to plan ahead. The most popular adaptations among this group include the installation of a level access shower or wet room (31%), while 1 in 10 had made doorways more accessible with ramps.

These changes have had a positive impact, with 37% saying they felt more confident since carrying out the work and 1 in 4 now worrying less about the possibility of risks.

However, of the age group surveyed, 1 in 20 confessed to not wanting to think about getting older, and almost 1 in 5 said they would only think about adaptations to their home if they were advised to by their GP.

A quarter of older people also say they would only consider making changes to their home if they had an accident that affected their physical ability.

Changing circumstances

In contrast, 33% of people aged 70 and over who had carried out adaptations, cited the fact that their home was no longer suitable for their needs as the reason behind the changes.

Of this age group, 1 in 10 had been advised to make changes by their GP, with the same number saying the adaptations had been done by their family in order to help them manage better. Nearly a third of over-70s had made the changes to make caring for a relative easier.

Hugh Forde, Managing Director of Age UK Trading, says: 'As these "future-proofers" demonstrate, thinking about your living situation and how your needs might change as you age is important.

'However, whilst there is an emerging group of forward-thinking 60 year olds, the reality is that for many older people these needs are only realised after an accident or a relative becoming ill.

'Often small adaptations can make a significant difference, not only helping people retain their independence and stay in their homes longer, but also reducing falls and accidents, and the subsequent cost of care and resources.'

Age UK Trading, part of Age UK's social enterprise, specialises in products for the evolving needs of older people. Including mobility aids, independent living solutions, and health care and technology products, the range has been designed to help people stay independent for longer.

Whether it's getting around more easily, coping with health conditions or being able to sit down comfortably, Age UK Trading offers a one-shop-stop for those looking to make the most of later life. For more information visit Age UK Products.

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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