This report addresses our rapidly ageing society, highlighting the fact that within five years the over 60’s will take up over 25% of the English population and despite this, little thought has been given to how the housing needs of our nation is going to change.

This report focuses on those over the age of 55, as it is often the age at which residents qualify to enter retirement housing. However, this does not mean that this report suggests that retirement housing is the inevitable destination for over 55’s – needs, desires and requirements are diverse and sophisticated across this group, and change across time.

New data provided by the Centre for Towns for this report demonstrates that this new ‘housing crisis’ is not just an issue for areas usually associated with older populations: seaside towns and the countryside. Across every
region of the country, communities will age significantly.

Demand for the varying types of age-friendly housing already outstrips supply, leaving people trapped in housing that does not suit their needs. The RIBA’s survey research shows that a quarter of people over the age of 55 are currently considering moving home, yet half of these people said that they were being prevented by a lack of options in the housing market. Design was identified as the most significant consideration among those contemplating moving home, with specific features such as adaptability and potential for ground-floor living being prominent considerations.

The concept of an age-friendly approach was originally developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Recognising that communities across the world are set to get significantly older, the age-friendly concept encourages those responsible for planning and designing our neighbourhoods to consider the perspective of older people. This involves making decisions to ensure their lifestyle choices are catered for and that thought is given to enabling people to continue to participate in and contribute to the community as they age.

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