The Local Government Association has said that a residential revolution is needed to accommodate the ageing population. The analysis by the Local Government Association has found that the number of specialist homes for older people will need to increase by 400,000 units in less than 20 years.
Only 0.6% of over 65s live in specialised accommodation with a form of care, such as 24/7 on-site staff. This is 10 times lower than in more developed retirement housing markets, such as the USA or Australia. The LGA suggests that there will need to be a 75% increase in the number of these specialist homes for older people by 2035 in order to meet demand.
The LGA said at least 80% of the homes we will inhabit in 2050 have already been built, so it is crucial that councils have sufficient funding to adapt existing housing, which is a vital component in supporting older people’s independence, health and wellbeing and as such should be at the heart of integrated health and care strategies.
Council leaders are also warning of a chronic under-supply of desirable, affordable and 'age-friendly' homes with enough space for older people to get around, and the ability for easy adaptations to be made, to cope with care needs. This is leaving retirees wanting to 'right-size' to more manageable accommodation unable to do so.
The LGA is calling for 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 and long-term sustainable funding for councils to adapt existing homes.
Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Housing spokesman, said, 'England will have 14.7 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.'