'We must listen and learn', conference is told

'We must listen and learn', conference is told

“We must move away from stereotyping older people and listen to what they want from housing,” that was the message from Housing & Care 21 chief executive Bruce Moore, as he delivered the keynote speech at a national housing conference.

The Housing LIN (Learning Improvement Network) Extra Care Conference took place at The Oval, in London, on Friday March 11, bringing together more than 200 professionals involved in housing, health and social care for older people as well as some residents from extra care schemes.

The event, themed 'People Powered Change', featured a host of sessions and debates on everything from the future of extra care, to urban regeneration and dementia care. There were also a series of panel debates involving representatives from the likes of developer Keepmoat, the University of Birmingham, the Elderly Accommodation Counsel and NHS England.

In his keynote speech, which presented alternative perspectives on the future of housing for older people, Bruce said: “As a society we continue to stereotype older people and place them into one group rather than recognise that our older population is very diverse.

“There is no Holy Grail when it comes to housing for older people; it’s all a matter of perspective.

“Going forward we must do more to work out what it is that older people actually want from their accommodation, listen to them, give them choice and get the product right. We must not assume anything.”

The event earlier heard from John Galvin, the chief executive of the Elderly Accommodation Counsel, about the organisation’s research into older people’s motivations for moving into extra care housing and the emotional pull involved in leaving a house, even when it becomes unsustainable.

And in her speech Anna Dixon, the chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, examined the difference in the motivations and challenges faced by older people in different demographic groups when looking for suitable accommodation. Her organisation’s research demonstrated that health, financial security and social connections were the three key factors for individuals when considering accommodation.

In his closing remarks, Jeremy Porteus, Housing LIN director, described the event as ‘a great day to learn and share ideas’.  

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