Supporting Health and Wellbeing : Can Smart Housing Help Revolutionise Health and Care?

Morrison, Ciarán (2018) Supporting Health and Wellbeing : Can Smart Housing Help Revolutionise Health and Care? [Report]

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    Abstract

    The concept of future proofing our housing has steadily gained momentum over the last few years as the elderly population continues to grow in Scotland, the UK and the rest of the developed world. In Scotland the number of citizens aged 75 and over has been projected to increase by 27% from 2016-2026 and by 79% between 2016-2041. However, this rise in momentum is not solely attributed to the increasing pressure brought on by an aging population. The commercial demand for more integrated products and services in the home has increased massively as consumers look for further developments in smart technology in the home. These allow for control of multiple home systems ranging from energy and water consumption to entertainment and leisure. These consumer driven advances in smart housing present massive opportunities to support the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s population. This coupled with public policy recognising the benefits of good quality housing to health and wellbeing, and emphasising preventative rather than reactive approaches, presents the smart housing sector with a clear pathway into the Scottish health and care market. Recent research by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers suggests that adapting homes to meet the needs of current elderly residents could help reduce the onset of frailty, which in turn can reduce the risk of hospitalisation [2]. The research claims that physical inactivity costs the NHS £10bn a year UK wide, with £2.5bn spent on care as a result of poor housing. From this, the research infers that allowing vulnerable people to remain in unsuitable homes is costing the NHS some £414 million per year in treatment costs alone.