Sustainable, tech-enabled and supportive homes for older people have received funding through UK Research & Innovation’s £23m healthy ageing challenge.
UKRI chose five projects created “to ensure that we can all live healthier, more useful and more connected lives as we age” while narrowing the gap between the experiences of the richest and poorest individuals.
The five projects are:
Blackwood neighbourhoods for independent living
Led by Scottish housing and care provider Blackwood Homes and Care, the project will work in three demonstrator neighbourhoods to enable people to live independently, stay connected and have choice and control in how services are delivered.
People in the three areas – Charleston in Dundee, Cardonald in Glasgow and Buckie in Moray – will have access to new homes, a design guide to improve, retrofit and adapt existing homes and future home designs.
Blackwood will also provide accessible outdoor spaces and sustainable energy and transport to support residents’ wellbeing and reduce their carbon footprint.
Software company Bronze Labs launched the Tribe project to address national care inequality at the local level. Part of its solution is a digital platform that can both map and predict care ‘dark patches’ where home care provision is either failing or doesn’t exist.
The project will also recruit and upskill people in areas of low economic activity and high public service demand so they can create micro businesses, structured as community enterprises, to provide care.
Healthy homes, healthy lives
With 1.6 million older homeowners living in ‘non-decent’ homes, social enterprise London Rebuilding Society designs ‘affordable, person-centred’ homes. LRS will launch new financial products to unlock value in homes, lending against the future value of an improved property to ensure homeowners can afford refurbishments.
Owners will be involved in designing their home alterations, including:
- Energy retrofits
- Access to renewables
- Smart technologies for energy monitoring
- Assistive technologies
Homes for living
Starting in the Midlands, the project offers free or partially funded home refurbishments designed to encourage older people’s mobility and freedom while supporting their independence at home.
The project is a collaboration between E.ON, Newcastle University, Invisible Creations and ADL Smartcare. As part of it, E.ON will build on its existing work offering free and partially funded energy efficiency measures.
Business health matters
The collaboration between Active Lancashire and the University of Central Lancashire will upskill gym and leisure centre employees to conduct physical and mental health screenings in workplaces across the country.
George MacGinnis, director of UKRI’s healthy ageing challenge, said: “The scale and range of these projects is impressive. Between them they are tackling issues as diverse as whether the built environment works for us as we age, long-term workplace health, financial products for older people and gaps in care.
“We have specifically funded projects which are innovative and scalable, to help deliver our ambition to ensure that we all have to opportunity to live healthier, more connected and more productive lives as we age.”