27th October 2027
The challenge of using technology to combat social isolation as well as improve physical and mental health among older people in general needs housing, was top of the agenda at a roundtable discussion organised by Alertacall.
The ‘Ageing Crisis in General Needs Accommodation’ Roundtable, sponsored by Alertacall, took place in London on Monday 9th October, bringing together around 20 senior figures and stakeholders in the housing sector.
According to analysis, as many as 28 per cent of those living in social housing are over 65. This number is only set to grow, with the UK population of over-65s estimated to increase from 11 million to 17 million by 2040*.
Alertacall uses technology and human contact to enable housing providers to have better two-way engagement with their customers. The roundtable was organised to share ideas and inspire action to meet the urgent challenge of the ageing population in general needs housing.
The keynote speaker was Sir Norman Lamb, who was formerly Minister for Care and Support and chair of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee. Sir Norman was joined by Greg Reed, Group Chief Executive of Places for People, alongside Kathryn Fox-Rogers, Chief Operating Officer of Johnnie Johnson Housing, and James Batchelor, founder and Chief Executive of Alertacall.
The discussion was hosted by Palma Black, founder and director of Soul Purpose 360, a social enterprise which helps black women overcome personal challenges to contribute to their communities.
While much of Palma’s current work involves people living in social housing, she also has extensive experience in the sector and is heavily involved with affordable housing developer EDAROTH (Everyone Deserves a Roof Over Their Head).
TV presenter and journalist Esther Rantzen, a long-time and influential campaigner for older people, also sent a special recorded message to the event, emphasising the importance of combining technology with human contact and compassion to keep older people safe and happy.
The roundtable was organised as a “safe space” for comment, with attendees encouraged to share their views honestly and candidly. The subject matter and issues raised will be compiled into a report to be shared with those present and, potentially, with the wider housing sector to inspire action and spark debate.
The discussion covered a wide range of issues, including the difficulty of tailoring digital solutions to meet the long-term needs of older people, the potential for collaboration between the housing sector and “health and social care”, and the need for consistency and support from central government.
“The growing number of older people living in general needs housing means that every housing provider is going to have to become an expert in meeting the needs of the ageing population,” said James.
“However, developing effective technology, teams and policies to help this group will also benefit other vulnerable and higher needs people. It is a challenge that we must face, but in facing it there are opportunities to improve the lives of many, many people, including the employees of housing associations themselves.
“The roundtable discussion was refreshingly frank but also full of hope. This is a crisis, but there is no shortage of willingness to work together to find a solution.
“What was abundantly clear was that if you don’t change anything, then nothing will change at all. I’m looking forward to working with housing associations to implement really positive change to help make their customers healthier, happier and safer.”
For more information or to join future events, email email@example.com