Sheltered housing changes

New arrangements in sheltered housing complexes were introduced earlier this year and a report evaluating the impact of these will be discussed at Aberdeenshire Council’s Social Work and Housing Committee when it meets at Woodhill House in Aberdeen today (Thursday).

Around 1,500 people who need housing support to help them maintain independence live in Aberdeenshire Council’s 63 sheltered housing complexes.

The new model of support takes account of the Scottish Government’s policies of Reshaping Care for Older People and the Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services.

The support now includes new mobile teams of sheltered housing staff to support tenants and a specific cleaning service as well as an equal access to service across Aberdeenshire and this followed a decision made by councillors in 2011.

The local authority has been working closely with tenants, staff and trades unions throughout the process to engage people in the changes and the reasons for change.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Social Work and Housing Committee Councillor Karen Clark said: “We are very proud of our sheltered housing accommodation in Aberdeenshire and we are leading on care for the 21st century. It is an excellent resource for our older people who wish to remain as independent as possible but who need to have the right support and care services on hand.

“The market research gives us valuable insights while the new arrangements take time to settle in.

“Having spoken to a number of sheltered housing tenants, one of the issues they highlight are feelings of isolation and that is why project officers will help tenants identify how they can build wider community networks and develop social activities.

“Working with partners in local communities as well as involving the voluntary sector is key to improving quality of life in our sheltered housing accommodation.

“We have also set up a sheltered housing tenants forum to provide a focus for tenants to gather views and ideas from everyone and to improve communication across the board.”

Vice chair Alisan Norrie added: “The council supports people to maintain their independence at home. Many people remain active and contributing citizens throughout later life and we must promote this.”