New ‘handyman’ repair service will help elderly stay at home longer

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A “handyman-style” service will be established to make repairs and adaptations to elderly people’s houses so that they can stay at home under social care plans due to be unveiled on Wednesday.

The Telegraph understands that several hundred million pounds will also be pumped into new supported housing, helping local authorities to provide a greater range of care and housing options for eligible residents.

Supported housing and assisted living schemes are seen as vital to helping people live independently in the community for longer, and often involve a mixture of housing, support and care services.

On Tuesday, Whitehall sources said that the plans would also include a new “practical service” dedicated to making repairs and changes to people’s homes should their mobility or health deteriorate.

It comes after Amanda Pritchard, the chief executive of NHS England, suggested recently that handymen and women could be dispatched by councils to rapidly install handrails and other equipment to prevent accidents and help ease pressure on the health service.

It is expected that councils will also benefit from more grant funding to help pay for home adaptations, with the Government’s command paper in September pledging uplifts to the disabled facilities grants scheme.

The scheme allows residents with disabilities to apply for grants to widen doors and install ramps, install stairlifts and downstairs bathrooms, as well adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use.

A number of local authorities have also established home improvement agencies, which provide technical and administrative services to residents needing to arrange improvements or repairs.

Alongside housing investment, a government source said that tens of millions of pounds would also be channelled into improving technology used in social care settings.

The measures are seen as crucial to the Government’s long-term vision for transforming the country’s social care system, with ministers concerned that thousands of people are depleting their assets paying for full-time residential care when they could be supported at home.

Gillian Keegan, the care minister, is expected to set out the plans in a new social care paper in Parliament on Wednesday, which will also outline how the £5.4billion of additional funding raised through the new health and social care levy will be invested.

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