Age, home and community: a strategy for housing for Scotland's older people 2012-2021

A strategy for providing housing and housing-related support for older people in Scotland.


Accessible housing: housing designed to provide access for people with restricted mobility. Main features include level or gently ramped access to the dwelling; entrance with 750 mm minimum clear opening; passageway widths provide wheelchair access at entrance level; and staircase suitable for future stair-lift provision.

Adaptations: alterations to homes to make them more suitable for disabled people. Common examples include grab rails, bathroom conversions (often replacement of baths with level access showers) and kitchen conversions.

Amenity housing: a term for rented housing provided by housing associations and local authorities, that is designated as particularly suitable for older people, due to its design features. An emergency alarm service may be available, but there are not usually any other support services provided with the accommodation.

Better Futures outcomes tool: a web based outcomes tool, designed to enable providers of housing support services to work with people using their services to record their support needs over a period of time. It offers a means of recording a baseline when someone starts using a service, as well as plotting their aspirations using a unique scoring system.

Change Fund for Older People's Services: Fund established by the Scottish Government to support improvements by local partners in health, social care, housing and the independent and third sectors, to 'shift the balance of care' from institutional care settings to the community. Funding is set at £70 million in 2011-12 and £80 million in 2012-13.

Co-housing: a form of housing in an 'intentional' community, which brings people together in groups to share common aims and activities. Each resident has their own home, but there are also communal facilities, often in the form of a common building. All aspects of development and management are undertaken by residents.

Co-production: an approach to developing and delivering services, which involves the people using those services in an equal and reciprocal relationship with professionals and others, including families and carers, working together to get things done.

Extra care housing: housing designed for older people with higher levels of care needs, with varying levels of care and support available on site. Residents have their own self-contained homes, and there are usually communal facilities, such as a residents' lounge, restaurant and laundry facilities. Sometimes known as very sheltered housing.

Home care services: care provided in a person's own home, usually of a personal nature, such as help with washing, dressing, getting in and out of bed.

Housing options approach: an approach to the provision of information and advice, which looks at all the housing options and choices in the widest sense, focusing on early intervention and covering all housing tenures.

Housing-related support: general term including support services that relate directly to the home ( e.g. housing adaptations) and/or are provided by housing organisations.

Housing support services: services which help people to live independently in the community. They range from low level services such as community alarms in sheltered housing to more intensive support, including assistance to claim benefits; manage a budget; keep the home safe and secure; and help with shopping and housework.

Innovation and Investment Fund: Fund for social housing launched by the Scottish Government in 2011, with funding of £111 million distributed to local authorities and housing associations to provide homes for social rent, shared equity and mid-market rent.

Intermediate care: a generic term that covers a wide range of services that help prevent unnecessary admission to hospital or help to facilitate early hospital discharge.

Lifetime Homes: a set of 16 design criteria that provide a model for building accessible and adaptable homes. More information is available at:

Low level support services: services which help to reduce the likelihood of accidents or crisis situations occurring and are generally low cost, thereby reducing the need for more intensive and expensive support services.

Preventative support services: see low level support services.

Re-ablement: services which provide intensive support to people following a crisis or returning home after a stay in hospital. The support is reduced gradually, as the person regains independence.

Residential care: care provided within a care home.

Scottish Building Standards: standards to protect the public interest in the design, construction, conversion and demolition of buildings.

Scottish Housing Quality Standard: the Scottish Government's principal measure of housing quality, providing a minimum standard, below which a property should not fall. It covers five broad criteria:

  • being above the Tolerable Standard;
  • being free from serious disrepair;
  • being energy efficient (effective insulation and full efficient central heating);
  • having a modern kitchen and bathroom in good condition;
  • having basic measures to ensure the health, safety and security of tenants is not compromised (such as appropriate security measures).

Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice: a framework for information and advice providers to develop effective and efficient services.

Self directed support: an approach which gives people informed choice and control about how their support is provided. This can be done through direct payments, where the local authority makes a payment direct to the person in place of services that otherwise would have been arranged by the authority. As an alternative, people can direct the available resources through an individual budget or individual service fund.

Sheltered housing: housing for older people, with appropriate design features, usually in a block of flats or bungalows on a small estate. Residents have their own self-contained homes, and there are usually communal facilities, such as a residents' lounge. Many developments have their own 'manager', but 24 hour warden cover is now increasingly rare. Properties are usually linked to a community alarm service. Similar housing in the private sector is usually known as retirement housing.

Shifting the balance of care: the policy of supporting more older people and disabled people to remain living independently at home in the community, instead of in hospitals or care homes.

Single Outcome Agreements: agreements between the Scottish Government and Community Planning Partnerships, which set out how each will work towards improving outcomes for the local people in a way that reflects local circumstances and priorities, within the context of the Scottish Government's national outcomes and purpose.

Social enterprise: a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.

Social landlord: general name for not-for-profit housing providers, usually local authorities or housing associations.

Strategic planning: an organisation's process of defining its strategy or direction (what it wants to do), making decisions on how it will do it and allocating its resources to pursue the strategy.

Telecare: the remote delivery of care services within the home, by telecommunications or computerised services. Usually takes the form of sensors or alerts, which are triggered by events such as falls, floods, fire or other extremes of temperature.

Telehealth: provision of health services at a distance using a range of digital technologies. Examples include video consultations to support diagnosis and management, clinical networks and health professional education.

Third sector: organisations which are non-profit distributing, non-statutory and independent of the state, including social enterprises, voluntary organisations and community organisations. They often benefit from the use of volunteering.

Transfer of Management of Development Funding: an arrangement whereby the responsibility for funding housing associations and other suppliers has transferred from the Scottish Government to Glasgow and Edinburgh City Councils, for their respective areas.

Very sheltered housing: see extra care housing.

Voluntary sector: see third sector.



Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government St Andrew's House Regent Road Edinburgh EH1 3DG

Back to top