The growing need for specialised retirement housing

10 October 2013

Easing pressure on health and social care budgets

Scottish Government statistics on free personal and nursing care show that the amount spent by councils every year caring for older people at home has increased by 160% since 2003.

With Scotland’s older population set to rise to a record 1.43million by 2035, a rise of over half a million in just over 20 years (1), the pressure on health and social care budgets will only increase.  Specialised private housing for older people, which matches their lifestyle and housing ambitions, would help ease that more

We welcome the revised Scottish Planning Policy, which now recognises the need for housing for older people.  It lays down provisions that will help encourage a greater level of private sector investment in older people’s housing.  This change is essential if we want to alleviate the pressure on the public purse of providing sufficient and suitable housing.  

Specialist owner occupied retirement housing has been shown to:  

  • Save public money by preventing a move into permanent residential care, saving the state an average of £28,080 per year
  • Reduce hospital stays as accommodation is designed for impaired mobility, residents find it easier to return home after staying in hospital and spend fewer nights in hospital than average for this age group
  • Streamline health and social care provision: visiting health professionals can meet several residents during one visit, which is ultimately a more efficient use of public resources
  • Improve wellbeing: 64% of residents feel their well-being improves after moving to retirement accommodation

If society is to meet increasing demand from elderly citizens for suitable and sufficient specialist housing, it’s important that contribution from the private sector is encouraged. The draft SPP is a positive start.

(1) Scotland’s Population 2011, The Registrar General’s Annual Review of Demographic Trends, 157th Edition 

(2) Housing markets and independence in old age: expanding the opportunities, Prof. Michael Ball, May 2011