There is an urgent need to build more homes that have the capacity to provide care, yet allow residents to continue living independently, according to a new report.
The report by the British Property Federation (BPF), in partnership with Cushman & Wakefield claimed there are only 74,000 housing-with-care units in the UK today, while the while ageing population in England and Wales is set to grow by 2.1 million by 2029.
From 2015-2019, the report found only 3,500 housing-with-care units were being built each year in England and Wales, with a total volume of 71,000 units today.
There are currently around 11 million people aged over 65 years in England and Wales, , highlighting the growing disparity between supply and demand.
To achieve the same provision of housing-with-care as the US, Australia and New Zealand by 2029, the report estimates 45,000 new housing-with-care units must be built each year across England and Wales.
‘Government must make purpose-built housing for older people a national priority,’ said British Property Federation chief executive, Melanie Leech.
‘It is critical that the country’s housing sector delivers new, purpose-built homes to serve older people’s aspirations, many of whom will continue to live productive and independent lives, but may wish to have certainty that their future care needs will be provided for.
‘The current lack of housing-with-care is acute. Our ageing population needs more fit-for-purpose, affordable, high-quality housing and this will have positive implications for issues as far reaching as social care, isolation and integration, generational inequality, and employment and skills.’
In June, a report produced by the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) and the County Councils Network (CCN) claimed retirement communities could play a key role in tackling many of the current issues around adult social care.
Cushman & Wakefield’s head of retirement living, Caryn Donahue added: ‘The UK’s elderly population is very underserved with minimal housing options and a need for aspirational fit-for-purpose housing that allows older people to live independently and age in place. The supply and demand disparity that exists across the country is urgent and the problem is only growing as the baby boomers enter later life.”
‘Through our partnership with the BPF, we created this report as a call to action for government to take an active role in supporting the real estate industry and creating a strategy to ensure that the ageing population has high-quality housing options available to them.’
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