People should “right-size” their housing throughout their lives to get the most out of their homes, a think tank has claimed.
The International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) paper argues that calls made in the past for older people living in large homes to be penalised were both ageist and irrelevant.
A lack of desirable retirement housing, the paper suggests, dissuades many older people from moving – reducing the supply of appropriate homes for younger people.
It points out that building of housing for older people has collapsed from over 30,000 units a year in the 1980s to around 8,000 today.
However the think tank also concludes that a complex array of factors has left many older people in homes that no longer meet their needs.
These factors include our tendency to deny the realities of ageing, a state-of-mind that means many are not aware of the benefits retirement housing offers. Research shows that appropriate housing can postpone the onset of chronic conditions or frailty and prevent or delay care home admissions.
The paper recommends that:
- Health and social care policy should explicitly encourage people to access the right form of housing before crises emerge
- The government should help councils assess whether the local supply of retirement housing (based on local demographics) is adequate
- Providers should work together to promote retirement housing and improve its image – and design quality
- The sector should study successful age-segregated housing for other demographics (such as students) and age-related products (such as Saga holidays)
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