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“Inadequate” supply of housing for elderly in Wales, says report

Words: Laura Edgar
Care home / Shutterstock_283915550

The supply of housing with care accommodation that “promotes independent and autonomous living” for older people is “inadequate”, says a report published by the Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW).

The report, Report of recommendations: Meeting the Housing Needs of an Ageing Population in Wales, suggests that a housing strategy addressing older people’s housing requirements be developed. It also encourages the Welsh Government to work towards providing affordable, “future-proofed” and “age-sustainable” housing for future generations.

Following a request from Lesley Griffiths, minister for communities and tackling poverty, the PPIW commissioned Dr Sarah Hillcoat-Nalletamby, centre for innovative ageing at Swansea University, to chair a workshop and write a report of recommendations on the challenges that an ageing population poses for housing needs in Wales and what the Welsh Government might do to meet them.

Report of recommendations also considers the choice the Welsh housing market offers older people and what is currently being done by housing providers, including developers, local authorities and housing associations to address the challenge.

The evidence review, undertaken as part of the research found, among other things, found that Wales has an increasing and diverse ageing population and most people over 65 in the country are home owners.

The report makes several recommendations to address the challenges faced.

  • The minister should convene a cross-sector/stakeholder group tasked with “developing a housing strategy to address older people’s current and future housing requirements” in response to population ageing, and in line with sustainable community development and independent living agendas.

  • The minister should set up a cross-departmental Welsh Government working group to identify a long-term vision for promoting the supply of affordable, “future-proofed” and “age-sustainable” housing for future generations.

  • A review of Planning Policy Wales within the framework of Local Development Plan and local planning policies to “ensure integration of a strategic planning approach” that addresses older people’s housing needs.

  • A review of public investment and grant streams be undertaken with the aim of supporting further investment in the supply of housing with care, independent living and home maintenance/retrofit adaptations services and products should take place.

In a blog for PPIW, Gary Day, group land and planning director for McCarthy and Stone, said building more housing for the younger population “grabs the headlines”.

“But the price of this single-minded focus is that the housing needs of older people are the forgotten part of the debate,” he said.

“We hope the report will mean that those in later life are no longer the forgotten part of the housing debate and that retirement housing can help to create a healthy housing chain that supports everyone back down to the first-time buyer.”