The Healthy Homes project is an action research project looking at maintenance and repairs in older peoples’ homes in the Coldside area of Dundee. It is funded by the Reshaping Care Capacity Building Fund. The Reshaping Care or change agenda aims to ensure that older people remain safe and well in their homes for longer. In order to make this a reality housing has to be suitable for elderly residents with the role of the maintenance or Care & Repair provision needing to be robust and flexible to meet the needs of an aging population. The Healthy Homes action research project explored how older people and their carers maintain their homes including their knowledge about repair provision. Based on the findings a co production service model was developed.
The research findings to date reveal areas where there is a need for services including: gardening, stairwells / communal areas, decorating / aesthetics, furniture repair, small repairs that require technical skills and the need for a brokerage service – someone that supports people to access the different maintenance services they need with speed and flexibility in getting jobs done, the costs for repairs, trust and reliability being key factors.
The MISCITS, recent service design graduates from Dundee University, were contracted to develop a service model. The MISCITS “work with public and not for profit organizations to help them do things better” and they succeeded in brining an imaginative energy and a range of engagement tools to enable this to happen. These were designed specifically for the Healthy Homes project bringing an element of fun into establishing older peoples expertise on how to remain independent for longer. The Miscits, and associate designer, Sharyn Farnan, used creative methods to promote the project, prompt conversations and host workshops. ‘By bringing together both service providers and older people at workshops, we can begin to visualise how Care & Repair services can work better for the people who need them’.
For more information, see the Healthy Homes blog: http://healthyhomesproject.wordpress.com
The next phase, which has succeeded in securing year 2 funding, will see the piloting of the MISCITS co production service model. Included within the model is the potential to development of small practical repair workshops where volunteers can learn basic home maintenance and DIY and garden skills. This is not about reinventing or duplicating services; it is about joining services together and learning from those who need services and who want to remain safe and well in their homes and their communities.
Alice Burns, Healthy Homes Project, Reshaping Care for Older People Change Fund