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How research on supported living environments for older people changed Welsh policy and practice

Swansea University research helps change services to better meet the needs of older people

The last census (2011) identified that more than 21,000 people in Wales lived in sheltered housing, residential care and nursing homes and Swansea University’s Centre for Innovative Ageing (CIA) research has sought to improve the quality of life for these residents.

With an increase in extracare housing as a result of additional funding, it was important to establish whether the additional provision accommodated the changing needs of both fit and frail older people. The findings have also positively impacted the development of future extracare services in the local authorities of Swansea, Wrexham and the Vale of Glamorgan.

The research also found that several local authorities were closing local residential care homes and remodelling the facilities to provide Extracare sheltered housing.

Subsequent CIA research led by Professor Vanessa Burholt into environment and ageing has changed policy thinking at Welsh Government level and led them to revise guidelines in relation to care-home closures.

“Our strong relationship with the Centre for Innovation in Ageing at Swansea University, backed by a 3 year research agreement, underpins what is widely recognised as a world–leading approach to policy and delivery for older people.” Former First Minister Rhodri Morgan, Public Services 2025 conference

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