Nine in 10 people think the government should widen housing options for older people, with almost three quarters interested in housing with care as an alternative to care homes.
A new survey shows that more than half (56%) of people are interested in moving, rising to 70% if to somewhere with care and support, but lack good local downsizing options.
The survey, conducted by Later Life Ambitions and the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) on 301 people in the UK, illuminates the miss-match between the needs and wants of older people and the options available to them.
Of those surveyed, who including a mix of ages – 62% of whom were 65 or over – 90% supported government action to increase the provision of housing for older people, while 53% said their local area does not have enough downsizing options, including those with care.
When asked to rank top priorities for government change, the creation of better alternatives to care homes came first, with 94% agreeing the government should consider this, followed by developing a clear national strategy to encourage growth.
Also rated as important were providing more information to older people about their choices, making improvements to the planning system, and strengthening consumer protection and clarity.
In addition to broad interest in housing options that include care, 14% said they would like to move specifically to a retirement community.
Michael Voges, executive director of ARCO, said: “The new evidence demonstrates starkly the gulf between what housing and care options people want when they are older, and those currently available to them.
“A majority of older people are interested in moving should there be the right option in their local area, but the current supply of good quality housing and care is simply nowhere near enough to meet demand.
“When 90% of people call on the Government to widen housing options for older people, including those providing care, then it is time to listen and act swiftly.”
Lisa Ray, general secretary Civil Service Pensioners’ Alliance and Later Life Ambitions Partner said: “Appropriate and comfortable housing helps older people maintain independence, wellbeing and physical health. Needs and preference evolve with age, but the options available have not kept up with demand.
“Successive governments have failed to address this issue. With more than half of those who took part in the survey saying they were interested in downsizing, but local offers were not good enough, today’s research shows how urgently solutions are required. It is time for the Government to take action.”