Making housing work for older people

Gavin Bashar
Gavin Bashar
Managing Director UK, Tunstall Healthcare

As detailed in the Housing our ageing population report commissioned by the Local Government Association and written by the Housing LIN, between 2014 and 2039 over 70 percent of projected household growth will be made up of households with someone aged 60 or older1.

With this in mind and in light of the government establishing the Older People’s Housing Taskforce, Gavin Bashar, UK Managing Director at Tunstall Healthcare (opens new window), considers how technology can be deployed to make all housing solutions work for older people. 

Supporting active, enriched lifestyles

Technology is not a panacea, but it can play a crucial part in helping us generate a cultural shift towards more preventative and outcomes-based approaches. However, it doesn’t always realise its full potential in the housing sector where it can be deployed effectively to support independent, active and enriched lifestyles in a range of environments.

As digital solutions advance, we have the capability not just to react to events, but to predict and even prevent them using data-driven insights. These approaches can help to create intelligent, personalised care programmes and effectively allocate resources, making sure those that need it have the right levels of support and reassurance.

For example, resilient IP architecture can provide peace of mind around critical alarm handling, solutions are constantly evolving to connect home capability, concierge assistance such as secure simple messaging can be provided, and simple connectivity is available via WiFi and VoIP telephony. 

Collaborating with technology providers

By collaborating with the right providers, housing providers can empower their residents to live well in a range of settings, leading a safer and more fulfilled life, while enabling caregivers to provide support where and when it’s needed. 

Technology providers, including Tunstall, work closely with their customers from initial specification through to project design, delivery, installation and ongoing maintenance. Often a single point of contact will be provided to make it as easy as possible to access the right technology and services that will most benefit residents.

Individual technology systems can also be embedded into independent living settings, for example Tunstall’s Lifeline DigitalTM. These systems support IP alarm protocols and the analogue to digital transition in the homes of vulnerable people, ensuring straightforward, reliable assistance with minimal hassle. These solutions work with a large range of unobtrusive sensors located throughout the home, or as personal devices worn on the body that raise an alert in the event that emergency assistance is required.

The importance of co-production in planning for a digital future

In 2022, Beyond Housing (opens new window) – who manage social housing in Redcar and Cleveland and North Yorkshire - launched its new independent living service, Reach & Respond (opens new window), which forms an integral part of its strategy as we move into a digital communications era. 

A digital transition plan is currently being developed with Tunstall to ensure the service is ready to upgrade its existing analogue technology. Moving its monitoring centre to a SaaS platform avoids the time and costs associated with sourcing, maintaining and managing hardware infrastructure, provides robust business continuity and the assurance of always operating on the latest version of software.

It also removes restrictions on operator location, enabling the service to become more agile if needed, and workflow guidance enables quicker response times and therefore increased capacity and an improved service user experience. Upgrading the existing technology base will enable customers to benefit from the latest developments.

Steve Rawson, Chief Operations Officer, Beyond Housing comments:

“Reach & Respond is integral to Beyond Housing’s strategy for the future, and the decisions we make now will have a significant impact on how we deliver future technology gains and customise what we do to meet individuals’ needs, enabling them to maintain their tenancies with us for longer.”

For more information, please visit (opens new window)

You can also find out more about the Older People’s Housing Taskforce (which is due to report in 2024) here

You can also find a useful presentation by Steve Rawson on Beyond Housing’s work with Tunstall at the Housing LIN Summit


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