Sheila specialises in issues to do with housing, disability and later life, with a focus on how disabled people of all ages can be helped to remain living independently in the community. For many years she worked as an independent consultant on change management projects to ensure that services for disabled and older people were better coordinated. She is now a Research Fellow at the University of the West of England with the aim of understanding more about the consumer perspective and providing evidence about the impact and outcomes of home adaptations. She has been commissioned by a range of organisations including: central government, local authorities, housing associations, and the independent and voluntary sectors. Recent projects have been for Care & Repair England, Foundations, the Centre for Ageing Better and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. She is the author of a considerable number of articles and reports. She is on the Foundations’ Advisory Board – the organisation tasked by government to improve the way the Disabled Facilities Grant is delivered. She is also part of the international genHOME group of academics and practitioners bringing together housing related research and evidence relevant to the needs of disabled and older people.
Most people want to live out their lives in their own homes. It is essential that this happens successfully to reduce pressures on hospitals and care services as the population ages. This presentation looks at what we know about the housing stock and its suitability for later life. It explores how much people plan ahead to ensure their property is ready for the time when they, or their partner, may become less mobile or frail. It raises questions about how we can encourage more people to think about the future and invest in the most effective solutions to enable them to remain active and independent for as long as possible.