Think tank raises concern over retirement housing shortage

Research from the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) has warned that an increasing number of older people are living alone, without having adaptions installed to enable them to live independently.

The research highlighted an increase in the number of 45-64 year olds living alone (500,000) as well as the number of 65-74 year olds in the same situation (300,000).

The State of the Nation’s Housing also outlined that less than half of those over 50s with a limitation in an Activity of Daily Living (ADL) have access to health-related adaptions in their homes.

The report recommended that retirement homes could meet the demands of an ageing population but warned that there was a shortage in such accommodation. Data shows that around 87 per cent of people who live in retirement housing have home adaptions, compared to around 60 per cent of other housing.

However, the study warned there could be a retirement housing gap equivalent to 160,000 houses by 2030 if trends continue, growing to 376,000 by 2050.

Baroness Sally Greengross, ILC-UK’s chief executive, said: “Our report highlights that there are millions of over 50s with care needs who haven’t adapted their housing for old age and may be in homes too big for them.

“Retirement housing could be a solution for some older people but we are building far too few of this type of housing. If older people are to live longer in their own homes we must better support older people to make adaptations to allow them to continue to live independently in their own homes.”

Greengross added: “A freeze in the current rate of stamp duty might also encourage more over 50s to move to homes better suited to their current, and future needs.”