Category Archives: Housing

Government failure on accessible housing undermines independent living

Houses

In its national planning guidance the Government says:

The need to provide housing for older people is critical, given the projected increase in the number of households aged 65 and over accounts for over half of the new households’

Yet, their current review of housing standards has failed to seize the opportunity to age proof all new homes. The measures they are proposing could in fact end up restricting progress on accessible housing.  This is terrible news because accessible, well designed houses and flats give all of us the security of knowing that if our mobility is reduced, our homes make it much easier to live independently – hopefully in a location of our choice.

Instead the Government has made improved access standards for new homes an option, to be determined by local authorities. This option, known as ‘category 2’ is based on the Lifetime Homes Standard – a set of 16 criteria which make homes easier and cheaper to adapt.

This optional approach, which requires evidence of need and viability, seems to imply that life time homes should primarily be applied to retirement housing. Most of the house building industry seems to regard retirement schemes as the most sensible response to the projected growth in the older population. The implication is that if your housing becomes inaccessible, due to poor design, it simply requires you to move into retirement housing or residential care. Continue reading

‘Housing in Later Life’ – one size fits all won’t work

HousesThe launch of  a new Age UK report, ‘Housing in Later Life’, coincides with several important policy developments which are likely to impact on the housing options open to all older people, both now and in the future.

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The Queen’s Speech – What was good and what was missing

Photo by Michael Garnett licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

The changes to the private pensions system were the big announcements affecting older people in this year’s Queen’s Speech, bringing into effect the shake-up of the annuities regime that was announced in the Budget in March.

While these measures, if done properly, are very welcome, the Government missed a big opportunity to introduce legislation to protect more vulnerable older people from abuse, and to seriously address cold homes, which over a million older people are estimated to find themselves in every year.

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Guest blog – Housing standards and the ageing population

This blog was contributed by Paul Gamble, Chief Executive of Habinteg Housing Association

Effective housing policies will make or break the UK’s ability to meet the challenges posed by our ageing population. Building homes that remain accessible for all stages of a person’s life and can be adapted easily, taking into account diverse and changing need, just makes sense.

Habinteg and Age UK have both contributed to the Government’s review of housing standards consultation and made the case for national standards that increase the supply of accessible homes. The new three tiered approach recommended by the Government needs to prioritise access issues.  Without this local and national commitment, the homes of the future will simply not provide for the needs of the increasing number of older and disabled people in the UK.

Photo: Ell Brown (Creative Commons)

Photo: Ell Brown (Creative Commons)

An ageing population

The projections could not be clearer. By 2030, one in three people in the UK will be aged over 55 with the number of disabled people estimated to rise to 4.6million by 2041.

People want to age in their own homes as independently as possible, for as long as they are able. Continue reading