Ageing in Place in the United Kingdom
Ageing in Place is a key component of UK policy on older people and housing. Helping older people to ‘age in place’ at home is seen to benefit the quality of life and also provide a cost-effective solution to the problems of an expanding population of very old people. However, the reality is not straightforward and in this paper, some results of qualitative research are presented to illustrate the benefits, problems and challenges that exist in relation to Ageing in Place in the United Kingdom. The research is based on qualitative data collected from 40 people age 80–89 in the north-west of England as part of the ENABLE-AGE Project 2002 to 2004. The research suggests that while Ageing in Place may bring social and psychological benefits, there can also be a significant downside on an everyday level. Home in old age can be a place of negative experiences, such as isolation and loneliness and there are often significant weaknesses in terms of informal support, physical environment of the home and neighbourhood and social network, which undermine the person’s ability to live independently. The paper reviews recent UK initiatives to use “telecare” to address some of these issues.