Social Care Investment Needs To Consider Appropriate Elderly Housing

400,000 ‘lifetime homes’ are desperately needed to provide the elderly with accessible and appropriate accommodation. 

Lord Best, Chair of the Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People, has suggested that a current lack of provision for older residents will cause an unforeseen housing crisis in the future. 

Despite the need increasing, few homes for older people are being planned for. Lord Best has consequently criticised all political parties for overlooking this issue in their manifestos.  

During an interview with Elder magazine, the cross bench peer estimated that overlooking the issue now will cost the UK £billions in the near future. 

The Local Government Association has forecast the number of over 65s whose day to day activities are significantly limited will rise by 30% in the next five years. 

This will mean an additional 3 million people in need of specialist accommodation and provisions; a number all major parties have not factored in to their social care manifestos. 

The latest figures indicate that care home insolvencies increased by 83% in 2017, suggesting limited residential resources will lead to more care being provided in residential accommodation. 

However, a lack of investment in this area has meant care home providers are using older buildings and outdated facilities. In total, 72% of care homes are over 20 years old.  

If the UK is going to cater to this older demographic, more later living and ‘lifetime homes’ will need to be built.   

Lord Best, Chair of the Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People, said: 

“This is a crisis that is building slowly and it’s not until people actually have nowhere to go, that a [housing] crisis becomes very open and real.”  

“The appetite to deal with this issue just isn’t really there and I don’t detect any of the parties feeling any great sense of urgency to create homes for people over pension age” 

Pete Dowds, CEO of Elder, who conducted the interview said: 

“We hear a lot about the need to more closely align health and social care policy. But the same needs to happen with social care and housing policy. 

 “As the care home sector increasingly struggles, the need to have suitable housing for the elderly is only going to become more acute. More care is going to be delivered on our homes. 

 “If we fail to build the right housing now, the cost for adaptations is going to be significantly higher in the future. A long-term approach will save money and make the lives of families better.” 

Does the government need to look at later life housing?  

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