Every council should offer handymen to help elderly maintain and stay in their homes, say MPs

Posted On: 
9th February 2018

Every local authority should have at least one handyman to help the elderly with odd jobs and to stay safe in their homes, MPs have said.

Councils should improve services to allow elderly people to stay at homes, say MPs
Credit: 
PA Images

MPs say on-call tradesmen have a “significant role to play” in helping older people stay “comfortable, healthy and safe” while helping out with tasks such as changing a light bulb.

The Communities and Local Government Committee also say more bungalows should be built for older people, while new properties should be "age-proofed" to reduce the need for residential care.

Four in five councils struggling with elderly care - report

NAO report reveals elderly trapped by systemic failure in social care

Delayed hospital discharges for elderly costing £820m

The recommendations come as part of a wider call for a national strategy to deal with housing needs, and a national helpline to offer advice on housing options.

Committee chairman Clive Betts said: "With an ageing population, it's vital that the link between housing and health and social care is recognised.

"There is a huge variety of housing options for those in later life, so it's important that older people are given help to make the right decisions about their future…

"The right kind of housing can help people stay healthy and support them to live independently.

“This can help reduce the need for home or residential care, bringing real benefits to the individual and also relieving pressure on the health service."

A government spokesman said: "We've set out an ambitious programme of reforms to boost housing supply for everyone - including elderly people.

"We're also committed to helping older and disabled people live independently and safely and we're providing funding to help local housing authorities make a range of adaptations to a disabled or elderly person's home, such as installing ramps and stair lifts."

Claudia Wood of the think-tank Demos, told the committee that having a handyperson was “very important” to older people.

“When you are in your 70s, you cannot climb up a ladder to change your lightbulb, so you end up sitting in the dark,” she said.

“Then there is the risk of falls and you break your hip, and onwards and upwards. Some of that low level stuff is very cheap.”