'RIGHTSIZING' - and not the more negative sounding downsizing - should be the term used in broaching the issue of older people moving into more suitable accommodation, says a new report.

The recommendation, one of 18 arising from a study in Gwent into appropriate housing for older people, was made after a consultation involving older people in the area.

This revealed that many find the term ‘downsizing’ negative, and a discouragement to considering a move.

The Appropriate and Rightsizing Study, carried out for the Gwent Health, Social Care and Housing Partnership, looks at what appropriate housing for older people should include, to enable them to live happily, healthily, safely and independently in later life.

It looks too at reasons why older people may not want to move in later life and how the issue can be addressed.

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The study report recommends too, that “all accommodation built specifically for older people should have at least two bedrooms and easy access both inside and out, lots of light and space, be safe and secure, be easy to maintain and to keep at a comfortable temperature”.

It should also “have some outside space, allow pets if possible, have a convenient parking space for visitors and care providers”.

Communities and the infrastructure in and around them should also be age-friendly - for instance with good public and community transport services - to encourage and enable older people to get out and about.

The report also recommends a standardised recruitment and accreditation programme for care and support workers in Gwent, and standardised training for all housing service providers and support workers on subjects such as falls awareness prevention and bone health, sight loss, dementia, mental health and alcohol misuse.

Another recommendation is that people should be encouraged to think about their future housing needs as they get older. It recommends that the “option and feasibility of having a Rightsizing/Staying Put for Life housing service in each council area should be explored, to provide information, advice and assistance.

More than 350 people from across Gwent took part in the study, along with 50 service providers, and other expert and lay contributors.