The population of over 85s in the UK is expected to double between 2018-2030. Increasing the overall supply of housing in the UK is critical. There needs to be a greater focus on the provision of homes across all tenures, and we specifically need to address the significant under-supply of housing designed and built for those over the age of 65. Despite over 65s making up 18% of the population, retirement properties make up just 2%. The demand for older people’s housing is set to rise as the elderly population increases at a notable rate.
Staying active in later life is more than physical fitness; it is about social and mental activation too. Described by medical professionals as a “silent epidemic”, loneliness has profound medical implications. More than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone and more than a million older people say they go for a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. Although cities are full of people, social isolation is prolific. Retirement communities with extra care, such as those being designed by Guild Living, have the potential to significantly reduce social isolation.
What’s more, the development of later living apartments not only addresses the need for accommodation for older people – it also contributes towards the Council’s housing targets. As people downsize, it frees up larger, family homes that are in short supply – helping to tackle the wider housing shortfall.