Significant Bathing Difficulties Impact 26% of Older UK Adults, YouGov Survey Finds

In a groundbreaking survey conducted by Age Care Bathrooms and YouGov, it has been revealed that a significant number of UK adults aged 50 and over are facing serious challenges with bathroom accessibility. This study sheds light on the critical need for housing designed to accommodate the unique requirements of an ageing population.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 26% of respondents disclosed that someone in their household experiences difficulties with bathing or showering.
  • To improve accessibility, 42% of these households have installed mobility adaptations in their bathrooms.
  • Interestingly, 84% of the survey participants reported living in households without children.

Conducted among more than 21 million individuals aged 50 or older in the UK, the survey aimed to explore the prevalent housing challenges faced by this age group, with a particular focus on bathroom accessibility. The data underscores a concerning issue, with one in four adults aged 50 or over either struggling personally or living with someone who struggles with bathing and showering.

Key Survey Demographics:

The survey highlighted that 42% of households with an adult aged 50 or over with difficulties bathing, have invested in mobility bathroom adaptations. Among the participants of the survey, 44% identified as grandparents and 84% live without children in their household. Other recent data shows that one in four individuals aged 50 or over lives alone, so reducing accidents and falls within this demographic is paramount.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, February 2022 update on GOV.UK revealed that 3 million people in the UK are affected by osteoporosis. A review of long-term disability further disclosed that approximately 20% of hip fracture patients require long-term care within the first year post-fracture, contributing substantially to an annual social care cost estimated at £1.1 billion.

Call for Change to the Disabled Facilities Grant
An issue raised by the charity Foundations, contracted by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, is the means test for the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), which considers household income and exempts only the first £6,000 of savings. This limited exemption may deter many from applying for a DFG out of fear they will have to spend all of their savings.

Age Care Bathrooms joins this call for change to the DFG and advocates for increased clarity about eligibility for DFGs and an urgent review of the current £6,000 savings exemption. This will help older adults access the funding they need to live safely and reduce the huge cost of social care due to injury from slips and falls in the bathroom.

About Age Care Bathrooms

Sam Davies, founder and director of Age Care Bathrooms, entered the industry in 2012, inspired by personal experiences with his Grandma Barbara’s motor neurone disease and Grandad William’s dementia. Age Care Bathrooms, unique for not using third-party contractors, focuses on cutting-edge design for accessible bathroom solutions. Committed to enhancing lives, they provide products and services that promote independence, safety and comfort in the bathroom environment.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1000 adults aged 50+. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th – 11th April 2024.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults aged 50+.

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