Extra 400,000 specialist homes needed for older people

Owl says: won’t happen. Most of them would need to be affordable or social housing and, if older people want to live near services, it has to be in towns and cities. In towns, apartments are geared to youuger people, in cities, places where older people might choose to live is now hundreds and hundreds of student housing blocks (Exeter is a good example).

Rural specialist homes are mostly bungalows, which are in such short supply they sell at a premium.

“The number of specialist homes for older people will need to increase by 400,000 in less than 20 years, a Local Government Association study has suggested.

The umbrella-body has called for a ‘residential revolution’ to provide adequate housing for the country’s growing elderly population as figures show one in five of the people in England will be over 65 in a decade.

As well as increasing the number of specialists homes for older people by 75% by 2035, the LGA also calls for sufficient funding to adapt existing housing.

This is because, the study has concluded, at least 80% of the homes we will inhabit by 2050 will have already been built.

Martin Tett, the LGA’s housing spokesman, said: “Our ageing population means that older people are an increasingly crucial part of our housing market.

“They now live in a third of all homes, and this is set to increase. Delivering quality housing that meets the needs of these older people is essential.”

On Friday council leaders pointed out that only 0.6% of over 65s live in specialised accommodation, with a form of care support such as 24/7 on-site staff.

In contrast countries like the USA or Australia have 10 times more of their over 65s living in arrangements of that kind, the LGA pointed out.

Tett said councils were using innovate ways of providing housing for older people, from building purpose built ‘right-size” homes for their needs to placing housing at the heart of efforts to integrate care.

“However, councils cannot tackle this issue alone. Support from government, which incentivises housebuilding and provides councils with the funding and resources they need, is crucial to our efforts to support positive ageing,” he said.

The LGA has also demanded more planning powers so councils can ensure developers build quality homes and infrastructure that are well designed to support positive ageing.

The government said it is committed to making sure there are more suitable housing to meet the needs of older people.

A spokesman from the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “Through the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017, we’re strengthening planning rules so that councils have clear plans for addressing the housing requirements of older people, and our building regulations now include a standard for homes to improve accessibility in homes.”