British Guidelines for “Age-Friendly” Neighborhoods

The British government unveiled a new housing strategy this week, designed to help their aging population stay in their own homes longer. UK Housing Minister, Caroline Flint said the new policies are “about giving all older people a better choice.” Highlights of the new program includes:

  • Requiring new homes to meet age-friendly design guidelines, including wider doors, improved bathroom designs, and stairways wide enough to accommodate lift chairs, by 2013.
  • Requiring new social housing to meet those standards by 2011.
  • Suggesting developers of new housing projects follow age-friendly guidelines, including better paving and curb design, convenient public rest rooms, disabled parking bays, and good street lighting.

For existing housing, the British government proposes to:

  • Adopt a national rapid repair and repair service which will enable an estimated 125,000 older citizens per year to get the repairs and modifications they need to be able to support themselves at home independently.
  • Establish a dedicated National Housing Advice and Information line to provide expert advice for older citizens about home repair.
  • Increase funding for disabled citizens to be able to make home modifications to accommodate them in their exisiting property.

Although these policies apply to England, similar measures are likely to make their way across the Atlantic. What do you think?