Age-friendly housing in the context of COVID-19

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The Homes4Life project organised a webinar on 30 June about age-friendly housing in the context of COVID-19. Different experts were invited to share their opinion on the importance of housing in times of a pandemic and beyond, but also, on future actions to consider if we want to ensure access to affordable and quality housing to everyone.

“Imagine a society where your house is truly your home. A supportive, enabling environment that helps you realize your full personal and social potential. Imagine a society where such houses are within reach for Europeans of all ages, regardless of income, gender, race or ethnic background, sexual orientation, health status, or disability.” (Homes4Life Vision)

With measures ordering people to stay at home, people realised their homes became their immediate surrounding for the next months to come. Their homes became their office, leisure place, childcare, a place to receive health and social care. All of these scenarios were manageable for some of us, for others however, their daily routine was threatened due to the condition of their homes. Indeed, according to Holly Holder from Centre for Ageing Better, “4.3 million homes in England are classified as non-decent homes. Looking at the percentage of non-decent homes by age group and income, recent data shows that the older one gets, the higher the likelihood to be in a low income group with 28% of those above 75 years with less than 11,000 GBP as their income”.

We know that the quality of housing has major implications for people’s health; nonetheless, 80% of our housing stock is not suitable for independent living, efforts need to focus on adapting the existing housing stock, as new construction only represents about 1% of the total housing stock” said Alice Pittini from Housing Europe. If not adapted, housing can exacerbate existing chronic health conditions, but it can also hinder the provision of health and social care services delivered at home. According to Alfonso Lara Montero from the European Social Network, despite the lack of personal protective equipment, homecare provision continued to be delivered throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, though with a clear decrease in number of users of homecare service due to fear of risk infection.

All have come forward with recommendations to decision makers to work together and adopt measures to ensure that our homes become the focal point of our well-being.
  

A report of the webinar is available here
  

For more information on this webinar and on AGE work as part of the Homes4Life project, please contact Nhu Tram, nhu.tram@age-platform.eu

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