Category Archives: Housing

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

Housing inequality and older people

Does housing wealth really have untapped potential to fund care and support options for older people? Recently Age UK held a policy seminar on housing inequality among older people to consider this and a number of other related questions, with the help of some leading experts. The conclusions they drew seem to challenge a number of faulty assumptions about housing wealth – assumptions that are shaping the thinking of policy makers. Dr Beverly Searle of St. Andrew’s University offered an alternative and more complex picture of the distribution of housing prosperity in England and the implications for policy.

167x167_older-asian-cplDr Searle described dramatic geographical variations in the location of housing wealth – linked to house prices – which determine the equity available to older people and the choices they can make. Dr Searle found that 42% of housing wealth is concentrated in London and the South East, while 20% is located in the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside and the North West combined. Only 3% of housing wealth is found in North East.  These inequalities mean that some housing and care options will only be available in affluent places, while choices for older people in poorer areas decline.

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A dream retirement – or a chilly future?

Moving to a park home can be a dream retirement for many people – an affordable way of downsizing to a friendly and attractive location. It’s estimated that around 160,000 people live in park homes in England.

But it can also have challenges, and one of these is keeping warm in the winter. A park homeAge UK has been contacted by a number of older residents of park homes in connection with our warm homes campaign.

I just want to mention the millions of forgotten elderly throughout the country who live in Park Homes where cavity wall and loft insulation do not apply. No one considers them!

I live in a Park Home and we, as a group of older people, have even greater problems… My winter bills are in excess for £140 per month. We would just like some help to make our homes more energy efficient. Continue reading