Continuing to live independently and in their own home is important for people in later life, yet a survey conducted by Age UK Personal Alarms has found that one fifth of over 65s (20%) felt there is a lack of available information on independence aids for the home, highlighting a lack of access and understanding of services in their local area.

Independence aids for the home range from fall detectors and grab bars to personal alarms and stair lifts.

The majority of over 65s believe that information to aid independent living should be provided by organisations in the local community, with GPs and local councils coming out on top. For three fifths (61%) of respondents, their GP would be the first port of call, followed by over half (58%) turning to their local council for support. While some do believe that they have enough information, a significant proportion disagrees, suggesting this information isn’t necessarily being communicated effectively to the whole community.

Two thirds (64%) of respondents believe that they will need some sort of independence aid in the future. Yet worryingly 16% over 65s remain unsure of what’s available or where to look for outlets that can provide information on independence aids for the home in their local area.

For those in later life that do already use these aids the benefits are clear, with more than half (57%) saying that using them made them feel safer in the home and two fifths (42%) that they provide them with a heightened feeling of independence. Six in ten (60%) respondents also said that accessing them is just a normal part of getting older.

Gordon Morris, Managing Director of Age UK Personal Alarms, said of the findings: “Many people in later life want to live independently in their own home for as long as possible and therefore it is very concerning that so many older people lack the knowledge of where to go to get information about independence aids. More must be done to raise awareness of independence aids and encourage discussions with families, doctors and local community services on how to improve choice, access and promote independent living.

“Positively, the research does show that those who use independence aids benefit from feeling safer in their homes and that they provide peace of mind to the user and their family. It is therefore imperative that those in later life have access to information about aids for the home that can help prevent falls. An Age UK Personal Alarm is one such service which can help those in later life remain in control and confident in their home.”