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Housing disrepair in Wales is a growing threat to older people – report

14 Mar 2024 3 minute read
A care worker helping an elderly woman

Significant disrepair in Welsh homes is impacting the health of older vulnerable people and not being resolved, a new report has found.

Care & Repair Cymru’s new report reveals a concerning rise in instances of hazardous disrepair in Welsh homes and the serious consequences this is having.

Disrepair significantly impacts health and wellbeing and prevents simple adaptations like handrails and stairlifts from being fitted for people who need them.

Increase in support

The charity, who specialise in home adaptations and repairs for older people, says that there has been a 130% increase in the number of people seeking charitable funding to help improve their housing conditions.  

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of Care & Repair Cymru, said: “For too long, small wear and tear issues have gone unchecked and unaddressed, leading to large disrepair problems.

“There are dire consequences for the health and wellbeing of older people who live in homes with disrepair. Yet, there is very little funding available to solve these growing problems, meaning the options for low-income homeowners are running out.”


The new report claims that the issues are made much worse due to a combination of a shortage of reliable contractors, inflationary price rises for materials, and policy imbalances leaving homeowners vulnerable, and disrepair unchecked.

The report also outlines the devastating consequences disrepair can have on older individuals, emphasizing the urgent need for interventions to ensure the Welsh housing stock is fit for an ageing population and future generations.

One issue that the charity highlights is how disrepair prevents housing adaptations from being fitted. They point out that it is not easy to add handrails to a stairwell in disrepair, meaning falls and therefore hospital admission are more likely.

Likewise, poor and unsafe electrics make it impossible to install a stairlift, which can leave an older or disabled person without freedom in their own home.

Safety net

The charity is calling for a safety net grant to rectify hazardous disrepair in Welsh homes, that will allow older people to live safely and independently at home.

A safety net to fix issues like leaking roofs, draughty windows, and rotting floor joists will mean that homes can receive vital adaptations and access energy efficiency schemes to improve health and wellbeing at home and make Welsh housing fit for its ageing population.

They say that poor housing affects anyone’s health and wellbeing, and older people in Wales are especially at risk.

According to Care and Repair, addressing poor-quality homes and investing in maintenance and repairs will reduce the pressure on healthcare services by ensuring that hazards to health such as falls risks, cold homes are resolved before they cause injury or illness.

Care & Repair Cymru’s new report is available at

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