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Ideas emerging to help elderly downsize to suitable homes

13th November 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

The Guardian has reported that a lack of housing options is currently the main turn-off for older people looking to downsize. A recent survey carried out by the think tank Demos has shown that almost 60 per cent of older people want to find a more suitable home that is smaller and can be fitted with assistive aids such as new stairlifts or a walk in shower; however, they are finding that there are not that many suitable properties available.

United for All Ages (UAA) believes that there are a number of practical barriers which prevent older people from selling their large homes and moving into a smaller property that can be managed more easily. According to The Guardian's report, a study by Shelter showed that "most older people wish to move within their own communities", but there is a lack of suitable housing available for them to do so. Other retirement options, such as moving into a care home or retirement housing, do not appeal to everyone, leaving older people in a situation that could certainly be improved.

The UAA has proposed a number of options to support older people who want to downsize, including creating a national downsizing agency that will specifically help those who want to move into a smaller property. Another idea is for tax breaks to be offered that could make downsizing a more attractive option for older people, with more funds left over to make purchases for the home which could include comfortable chairs for the elderly or paint for redecorating.

Alternatively, as a lack of housing appears to be the biggest problem, the answer could lie with the creation of new housing or new types of housing. Pete Girling, chairman of Girlings Retirement Rentals, has argued that councils should release brownfield sites to be used to build more homes for older people and said that the Royal Institute of British Architects has proposed the idea of a "mansion block for the third age", where three generations can share one property but live independently.

Click here to read The Guardian's article on housing problems and possible solutions.

Image Credit: Diana Parkhouse (flickr.com)