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Calls to increase housing options for older people

Nearly 90% of people think the government should widen housing options for older people, including those who receive care, a survey reveals.

The survey, conducted by Later Life Ambitions and the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO), illuminated the mismatch between the needs and wants of older people and the options available to them.

It found that more than half of older people are interested in moving but lack good local downsizing options, a survey finds.

Respondents said the government should prioritise the creation of alternatives to care homes and the development of a clear national strategy to encourage growth.

They also said more information should be provided for older people about their choices.

ARCO is calling on the Prime Minister to make the 2020s the ‘decade of housing-with-care’, and for a cross-government Task Force to increase options for older people.

Michael Voges, executive director of ARCO, said survey results increase the pressure on the government to act swiftly to expand housing and care options for older people.

‘The new evidence published today demonstrates starkly the gulf between what housing and care options people want when they are older, and those currently available to them.

‘A majority of older people are interested in moving should there be the right option in their local area, but the current supply of good quality housing and care is simply nowhere near enough to meet demand.

When 90% of people call on the government to widen housing options for older people, including those providing care, then it is time to listen and act swiftly.’

Lisa Ray, general secretary Civil Service Pensioners’ Alliance and Later Life Ambitions Partner said:

‘Appropriate and comfortable housing helps older people maintain independence, wellbeing and physical health. Needs and preference evolve with age, but the options available have not kept up with demand.

‘Successive governments have failed to address this issue.

‘With more than half of those who took part in the survey saying they were interested in downsizing, but local offers were not good enough, today’s research shows how urgently solutions are required.  It is time for the Government to take action.’

Responding to the survey, cllr David Renard, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said providing accessible and adaptable housing for older people needs to be a key part of our national ambition to build new homes.

‘Good housing is a major contributor to good health and care. Accessible and adaptable homes, including support for those with care needs, can keep people safe and independent in their own homes for longer, and prevent avoidable hospital and care home admissions.

‘However, our ageing population means more people aged 65 and over are becoming a growing part of our housing market, living in a third of all homes, often unsuitable for their needs.

‘The government needs to work with councils, developers and housing associations to provide a sustainable funding framework through which to offer the certainty and clarity to invest in the future development of housing for people with a range of needs, alongside adapting existing housing stock and other home improvements.

‘It should give councils the powers and resources to get back to building the homes the country needs, with a new generation of 100,000 social homes for rent each year.’

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for comment.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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