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Increased need for care getting serious about supply

Housing think-tank ILC (the International Longevity Centre) has recently published a report entitled The State of the Nation’s Housing.  The report highlights a significant increase in older people living alone, but millions are failing to adapt their homes to help them live independently.

Growing numbers of 45-64 year olds, and 65-74 year olds are living alone, with 6 million people living in houses with two or more excess bedrooms

Despite significant increases in the numbers of older people living alone, half of all older people with care needs haven’t made adaptations to their homes to make it easier to live in.

In 2012/13, there were 1.86 million people over the age of 50 in England who had unmet needs this means that around 1 in 10 people aged over 50 in England has an unmet care need.

Specialist retirement housing could be a solution for some, but new analysis by the ILC-UK projects a shortage of 160,000 retirement housing by 2030.

Those in retirement housing are significantly more likely to be living in homes with adaptations than those who do not. Approximately 87% of those in retirement housing have home adaptations, by comparison to around 60% of other housing.

The rate of construction of new housing for older people has varied over the years. It peaked in 1989 at 30,000 units but has since fallen back dramatically – averaging around 7,000 new units a year over the last decade.

There are around 515,000 specialist retirement and extra care homes in England. However, this means that there is only enough specialist housing to accommodate 5% of the over-65 population.

According to ILC’s calculations, there could be a retirement housing gap of 160,000 retirement housing by 2030 if current trends continue. By 2050, the gap could grow to 376,000.

The report shows that current levels of housebuilding will not be sufficient in order to support the housing needs of our growing population.  Research has shown that investing in the housing needs of older people (who often have assets at their disposal) can be a cost effective way of freeing up the housing chain for younger people.



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