Improved home adaptations 'could save millions'
Securing more appropriate funding for older people in need of home adaptations could save around £625 million of taxpayers' money.
The study, completed by the London School of Economics (LSE) Personal Social Services Research Unit, revealed that there could be a net saving of £1.10 for every £1 spend on adaptive technologies. This could lead to a potential annual saving of £1,101 per person when it comes to paying for social care needs.
With Government estimates showing that 568,000 over-60s require an adaptation to their home, this means it would deliver savings of around £625m.
This extra cash could then be pumped back into the system to help cover social care costs.
Researchers conducted a detailed investigation into how important aids and adaptations should be for the UK's future social care mix.
They figured out the savings based on the reduced falls, hospitalisation and operations it would create as well as those linked to confidence and quality of life.
The report, titled 'Building a business case for investing in adaptive technologies in England', also looked at how important adaptations and mobility equipment can be in allowing people to remain independent in their own homes.
Mike Lord, of the British Healthcare Trades Association, said that: "Social care is a ticking demographic time bomb - but one that can be diffused."
Mr Lord explained that simple, low-cost adaptations such as grab rails or stairlifts can make a massive difference to individuals, helping them to retain their dignity as well as cutting costs.
He added: "This is a win-win situation; we urge politicians to ensure it is at the heart of social care reform."
Patrick Stannah, joint managing director, Stannah Lift Services, said: "The Adult Social Care system is unsustainable and is struggling to deliver. We are now facing a crisis situation, with the shortfall only projected to get worse and worse.
"As the Government considers the draft Social Care Bill, it is vital that it invests in prevention and unlocks the savings identified in this report. Investing in prevention delivers a better deal for older people and a better deal for taxpayers."