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9 in 10 say Government must improving housing for older people

9 in 10 say Government must improving housing for older people

A survey conducted by Later Life Ambitions and the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) shows that nearly 90% of people think the Government should widen housing options for older people and that more than half of older people are interested in moving but lack good local downsizing options.

Launching the report, General Secretary of the Civil Service Pensioners’ Alliance and Later Life Ambitions Partner, Lisa Ray spoke on a panel with Chair of the APPG on Housing and Care for Older People, Lord Best; Chair of the APPG on Longevity, Rt Hon Damian Green MP; Member of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, Barbara Keeley MP and Chair of ARCO, Nick Sanderson. There was cross-party consensus and strong support from the sector that widening housing options for older people was an issue that needed immediate attention.

Working in conjunction with ARCO, Later Life Ambitions surveyed its members to hear directly from older people about their housing needs and plans to move. The findings illuminated the mismatch between the needs and wants of older people and the options available to them: 56% of older people are interested in moving, rising to 70% if to somewhere with care and support as an alternative to a care home, yet only 12% say their local area has enough downsizing.

Older people surveyed overwhelmingly supported Government action to increase the provision of housing-with-care for older people and to address the shortfall in the UK’s provision when compared with countries such as the USA, New Zealand, and Australia, where nearly ten times the level of provision exists. When asked to rank top priorities for Government change, the creation of alternatives to care homes came first, followed by developing a clear national strategy to encourage growth.

The report calls for a clear and unified approach and strategy from the Government towards the Retirement Community to encourage growth and for improvements to be made to the planning system to encourage the growth in specialist housing for older people. Later Life Ambitions and ARCO are calling on the Government to take heed of these results and act swiftly to expand housing and care options for older people.

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.”

Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO, said:

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.”

Download the full ‘Coming of age – Better housing options for older people‘ report here. 

Watch the report launch and seminar