More help must be offered to older people looking to downsize their property for something more suitable. A major new report is calling on local authorities, planners and developers to concentrate on “rightsizing” in providing homes for older people.
The report, entitled Rightsizing: Reframing the housing offer for older people, has been commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority and funded by the Centre for Ageing Better.
Moving is an active, positive choice
It took an in-depth look at the types of property in which older people across the UK live, examined the sort of house moves they make and the reasons why. And its findings suggest that assumptions about older people only wanting to move from bigger properties to smaller, more expensive to cheaper are not the only reasons people have for switching property.
In fact, some of the major reasons offered for moving as people age include wanting more space for guests, moving to a better area and having more access to green spaces.
The report says rightsizing better describes an older person’s active, positive choice to move as a way of improving their quality of life.
Advice needed on home options
Published on International Older People’s Day on October 1, the report says many of the over 50s find it hard to move home because of the lack of suitable housing options and poor support and advice on their home choices. Only 3.4 percent of those aged 50 and over actually move every year, half of the percentage of the general population who move.
The report says there is too little mainstream residential developments being built that suit older residents. And it says councils’ local plans should be looking to increase the amount of diverse, affordable housing options within existing communities so older people aren’t faced with a move far away.
Improving quality of life
Rachael Docking, housing lead at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “It’s often assumed that people want to ‘downsize’ to more manageable properties as they age. In fact, people in later life have the same desires to improve quality of life as any of us.
“We need to move away from a focus on delivering homes ‘for older people’ and deliver an adequate and diverse supply of adaptable, accessible housing that’s fit for people of all ages.”
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