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Diversity in Care Environments in England and Wales

Jeremy Porteus

Press release issued: 4 March 2019

A new research project in the School for Policy Studies at University of Bristol is looking at ways in which older people are made to feel included and valued in housing schemes with care and support services.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the aim of the study (known as The DICE project), is to identify how social inclusion policies and approaches are put into practice in housing schemes for older people across England and Wales. This includes schemes that support independent living in later life while providing some care services, such as extra-care housing, independent living or sheltered housing.

Part of the project, led by Dr Paul Willis in the School for Policy Studies, includes life-history interviews with residents who belong to minority groups to learn more about their experiences of moving into housing schemes with other older people.

Dr Willis explains, "We know that an ageing population is also a very diverse population and some residents from minority backgrounds or marginalised groups may not always feel welcome or included in activities in their schemes. Some residents may feel they need to hide aspects of their lives and relationships from other residents. We want to get a better understanding of what prevents some residents from feeling included in their new living community. At the same time, we want to hear from housing schemes that are leading on good practice in making all residents feel included and valued, regardless of their background."

The project will identify examples of good practice that can be shared with other housing providers. The central focus is on improving the quality of life for older residents by identifying approaches that diminish social isolation and exclusion for residents from diverse backgrounds.

The project is in collaboration with three housing providers across England and Wales, the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (Housing LIN) and the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK).

Jeremy Porteus from Housing LIN said; "Social exclusion amongst our older population is not just the stereotypical domain of someone over 80 home alone. This research is an important piece of work that will explore how residents within housing schemes may also experience factors that are detrimental to their health and wellbeing. It’s not their biological age but the quality of active living and community life in older age that matters."

Dr Brian Beach from ILC-UK states: “As the UK’s specialist think tank on the impact of longevity on society, we think it is important to challenge the idea of older people as a homogeneous group and address the diversity of our ageing population.  We are excited to be part of this important study, which will provide invaluable insights into how we can foster inclusive and supportive living environments to enhance the wellbeing of our older population into the future.”

Further information

The DICE Project: ‘Diversity in Care Environments in England and Wales’ has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to 2021.

About the Housing Learning and Improvement Network: Housing LIN is the housing sector’s leading knowledge hub with over 25,000+ members across ten regional networks in England, Wales and Scotland.

About the International Longevity Centre-UK: ILC-UK is a leading UK thinktank in the policy domain of longevity, ageing and population change with extensive links to UK Government and policy makers.

Follow the project on twitter: @TheDICEProject1

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