A new report by Homes for Later Living has called for 30,000 homes for later living to be built every year. Here, we explain McCarthy & Stone’s involvement and analyse our findings in further detail.
A new major report commissioned by Homes for Later Living has called for 30,000 homes to be built every year to boost the mental and physical health of older people.
Homes for Later Living is a consortium comprised of McCarthy & Stone, Churchill Retirement Living and PegasusLife Group and it operates alongside the Retirement Home Builders Group within the Home Builders Federation (HBF).
The report explored the wellbeing benefits people experience from living in homes designed specifically for older people and the fiscal savings they can deliver to the NHS and the social care system, too.
The report, entitled ‘Healthier and Happier’, is the first of three explorations of the case for building more homes for later living. Working alongside the consortium, the research was undertaken, evaluated and written by a former HM Treasury economist, Chris Walker, and found that:
100 years ago, the average life expectancy for men and women was much lower than it is today. Whereas the average life expectancy used to be 55 for men and 59 for women, it has now risen to 79 and 83 respectively thanks to advances in science, medicine and knowledge.
As a result, we now have an ageing population and the rate of growth is expected to increase even further in the coming decades, with the number of people aged over 80 set to rise from around 3.2 million today to 5 million in 2032 according to government data.
Although the fact we’re living for longer is undoubtedly great news for us personally, it places a greater strain on the NHS and social support services. In line with this, the number of people aged 80 or over who will suffer from falls is expected to rise from 1.6 million today to around 2.5 million in 2032, a rise of 900,000. By 2032 the total cost to the NHS of falls amongst the elderly will rise to £2 billion a year.
As a result, more needs to be done to focus on the link between poor health and the quality of housing available to people in later life. But, as the Homes for Living report identifies, there’s currently a shortage of these properties, and this shortage will only intensify as the population ages further.
Sadly, this means that more older people are often living alone in unsafe and unsuitable accommodation, where they are more likely to suffer from falls, loneliness and dementia.
The report outlines the urgent need to build more specialist retirement housing across the UK. As well as saving the NHS and local authorities large sums of money, this will also give people more choice and flexibility on how they live their lives.
Fortunately, the report outlines ways we can overcome the problems caused by an ageing population.
The research concludes that, by building 30,000 homes for later living every year for the next ten years, we could generate fiscal savings to the NHS and local authorities of at least £1.4 billion a year. This would be on top of the fiscal savings already being delivered by the existing homes for later living market, thought to be at least £750 million a year.
However, the benefits of building these homes extend beyond economic reasons. By moving into these homes, retirees will feel considerably more positive, improving their mental wellbeing and their quality of life. This is because residents will benefit from a safer and more secure place to live.
By surrounding these people with a support network and ensuring that specialist care is available, not only will their families benefit from improved peace of mind, but the residents themselves will keep their independence. By moving into a property with communal areas, they will also be able to prevent becoming lonely in retirement.
The benefits of building more retirement properties is also cross-generational, according to the report. This is because building more retirement properties and allowing older people to downsize means that more family homes could be freed for younger property buyers who are currently struggling to access the property market.
The report by Homes for Later Living certainly raises some interesting points about the future of retirement living in the UK and makes it clear that we need to act urgently to address the needs of an ageing population.
If you’re interested in a retirement living property and think that relocating to one might be good for you or a loved one, please contact us or look at our current properties which are available to buy, rent or part buy part rent, across the UK.