By Alfie Rycroft
Sheffield is facing escalating problems in trying to find enough adult housing and social care for the elderly people living in the city.
Yesterday councillors on the City Council’s Education, Health and Care Transitional Committee said there was a ‘large shortfall in older person’s housing’.
The committee requested a report that identifies how housing and social care work together to promote a policy shift towards independent living.
Councillors were told that when older people can live independently – known as Older Persons Independent Living (OPIL) it has considerable benefits that include improvements in individual’s personal physical health and mental wellbeing as well as savings to the NHS and reductions to social care spending.
In Sheffield, there is a shortfall in this type of housing which the council cannot meet alone.
One Sheffield resident of a Sheffield care home, John Barnes, 78, said: “I have friends living in the city and they have enquired about personal assistance and social care.
“However, they have not been given the opportunities to reach for help and there is clearly a shortage of elderly homes for people to move into.
“It is so important that people have access to social care and adult housing”.
The Committee heard that enabling suitable housing for older people also has the benefit of freeing up larger family homes.
Dan Green, Strategic Housing Officer for Sheffield City Council, said: “OPIL housing provides so many benefits for its residents. It has positive impacts on social wellbeing, reduced number of ambulance callouts and overall and improved quality of life.
“There is also a lack of suitable sites for new OPIL housing and competition from general needs housing presents a significant barrier to addressing the shortfalls”.
Sheffield has a relatively narrow OPIL housing offer which is dominated by social-rented sheltered schemes; mainly because it is expensive and requires a grant to make it viable for the Council to deliver.
There are around 2,800 OPIL properties in Sheffield, spread across more than 70 schemes. Mr Green added that there needs to be higher quality adult housing available in the city to match with the current demands.