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Housing for older people

Thursday 15 February 2018

Last year alone 'silver spenders' contributed more than £7 billion to the UK economy, but what steps are being taken to ensure that the housing on offer for older people, now and in the future, is suitable?

It is well-known that as a country, we have an ageing population, and in their latest report on Housing for Older People, the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee set out their recommendations for the wider availability of housing advice and information for older people, proposing that it be central to the Governments strategy.

In the report, the Committee calls on the Government to recognise the link between homes and health and social care in the forthcoming social care green paper, and proposes amending the National Planning Policy Framework to emphasise the importance of the provision of housing for older people. The Committee also support consideration for councils to highlight a target proportion of new housing to be developed for this purpose, as well as publishing a strategy which explains how they intend to meet the housing needs of older people in their area.

The Committee's recommendations include:

  • Additional funding for Home Improvement Agencies operating services including a handyperson service for older people.
  • A range of measures to help older people overcome the barriers to moving home including an accreditation for companies which provide tailored services for older people moving home and better customer service and guidance from lenders when applying for a mortgage.
  • Ensuring that national and local planning policy encourages the building of more of all types of housing for older people – extra care, retirement, sheltered and accessible housing across the social and private sectors, with older people involved in the design process.
  • Building all new homes to accessible and adaptable standards so that they are ‘age proofed’ and can meet the current and future needs of older people

NAEA Propertymark responded to the Government consultation on housing for older people in March last year, and are referenced in the Committees report, alongside The Law Society, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and The British Association of Removers.

As part of our written evidence to Parliament, we argued that traditional retirement homes are limiting, and do not offer a great enough incentive for older people to downsize. With the number of over-65’s projected to increase by 20-25 per cent in all regions of England by mid-2022, adequate provisions of homes for older people should be fundamental to future government plans. 

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

"With an ageing population, it's vital that the link between housing and health and social care is recognised. A new national strategy for older people, taking on board the recommendations of our report, should be linked to the Government’s forthcoming social care green paper.

"There is a huge variety of housing options for those in later life, so it’s important that older people are given help to make the right decisions about their future.

"A properly funded telephone advice service, bringing together information on everything from repairs and heating to moving and care options, would help people to make the right choices and live comfortably whether in their present homes or by moving to different accommodation.

"The right kind of housing can help people stay healthy and support them to live independently. This can help reduce the need for home or residential care, bringing real benefits to the individual and also relieving pressure on the health service. The green paper must consider the range of housing for older people, from mainstream and accessible homes to supported and extra care housing, as well as access to adaptations and repairs."

The recommendations of the report, including those put forward by NAEA Propertymark, will be passed to the Government for consideration.