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08/09/2017

LGA calls for ‘residential revolution’ to house ageing population

Words: Laura Edgar
Retirement / iStock

Local Government Association (LGA) analysis has suggested that the number of specialist homes for older people needs to increase by 400,000 units due to England’s ageing population.

This, according to the analysis, needs to happen in less than 20 years.

For the LGA, a “residential revolution” needs to happen in order for the ageing population to be housed, with one in five of England’s population set to over 65 in a decade.

Just 0.6 per cent of over 65s live in specialised accommodation, with care offered 24/7. This, the LGA said, is 10 times less than in the United States or Australia.

There needs to be a 75 per cent increase by 2035 in specialist homes to make sure older people have adequate housing.

The LGA said at least 80 per cent of the homes that will be inhabited in 2050 have already been built, therefore it is “crucial” councils have sufficient funding to adapt existing housing.

However, councils leaders have warned of a “chronic under-supply” of homes that are desirable, affordable and age-friendly that are easy to adapt and have enough space for older people to get around.

The LGA wants the government to help support a “residential revolution” for older people’s housing by giving councils the tools to deliver more housing that supports positive and healthy ageing. This includes planning powers to ensure “developers build quality homes and infrastructure that are well designed to support positive ageing, as well as long term sustainable funding for councils to adapt existing homes”.

Martin Tett, the LGA’s housing spokesman, said: “England will have 14.3 million over 65s by 2025, compared with 11.7 million today. This population shift looks set to continue.

“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.

“Councils across the country are innovating when it comes to delivering housing for older people – from building new homes which are attractive to older people wanting to ‘right-size’, to ensuring housing is at the heart of integrated 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.”

The analysis can be found on the LGA website (pdf).

Image credit | iStock

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