New study helps shape services to better meet needs of ageing ethnic minority population

Image depicting an older adult being aided to walk by younger adult

An independent study into the housing needs of older people from ethnic minorities will help us shape a new approach to tackling inequalities and meeting residents’ needs in the future.

Why did the study take place?

Last year the study was commissioned after projections showed the number of older people in the district is set to increase by 40 per cent over the next ten years. This is higher than the national average. Furthermore, people from ethnic minorities represent almost a quarter of Kirklees residents.

Who took part in the study?

The study took place between May and August 2021. Recruited were 484 ethnic minority participants. This was with the support of community organisations and a ‘Sounding Group’ made up of local community members.

The Housing Learning and Improvement Network (Housing LIN) undertook the study on our behalf. It primarily focused on older people from South Asian and African/African Caribbean communities. These are among the largest ethnic groups in Kirklees. The study helped identify the housing and support issues they felt were important to them as they grow older.

What did the study find?

The needs and wants of older people from ethnic minority communities were similar to the wider population. They included a need for improved access to aids and adaptations. In addition, information, advice and provisions for more housing and rental options.

The study also highlighted some distinct differences. This included the need to broaden the offer of specialist housing, amenities. As well as, services to cater for cultural and/or religious needs. For example, ensuring proximity to culturally appropriate shops and places of worship.

Councillor Cathy Scott, Cabinet Member for Housing and Democracy, said:

“I welcome this study and hope its findings will help us tackle inequalities and shape and influence a future service offer that delivers on the housing needs and other support needs of all our older people in Kirklees.

By understanding what is important to older people from ethnic minority communities, the Council and its partners can determine at a strategic level how best to deliver quality services that meet the needs of all older people across the district.”

Recommendations from the study have been put forward. These are based on a short, medium and long-term view on how to better accommodate the needs of older people from ethnic minority communities.

Learning from this study will help us continue to work with local communities to shape and influence existing and future housing and support strategies.