Independent charity, the Centre for Ageing Better, is calling for a radical overhaul of the UK housing policy, aimed at delivering accessible homes that are age-proof, flexible and suitable for everyone.
The appeal comes on the back of an English Housing Survey that shows that 93% of UK homes don’t meet basic accessibility standards – and many developers are not building new homes that a suitable for people as they get older.
This could prevent the aging population from living independent lives at home, for longer.
Dr Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better described today’s housing stock in the UK as “woeful” and “amongst the worst in Europe”.
“With more and more people living for longer, and many of them managing health conditions, this situation is unsustainable. We are facing an accessible housing crisis, putting unnecessary pressure on individuals, families and public services. If we do nothing, this will only get worse,” she said.
A poll of more than 4,000 UK adults shows that most people want every new home to be built in a way that is suitable for all people of all ages and abilities.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of people polled by YouGov agreed that homes should as standard be built to be suitable for people of all ages and abilities, while nearly half (48%) disagreed that UK society does enough to support people to live at home safely and independently as we age.
The research, commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better, illustrates the degree to which people would be happy to buy a home that came with features like level access entrances, walk-in showers or handrails.
A quarter of 18-24s (25%) and 25-34s (28%) say they would be encouraged to buy them, with around half saying they would be neither encouraged nor discouraged.
“There is a big market for homes that everyone can live in, regardless of their age or ability. Our research shows a strong public appetite for age-proof homes which enable people to live active and fulfilling lives – whatever their situation,” said Dixon.
“We need everyone responsible for building new homes to get on board and give people what they want. National rules must be strengthened, and planners within local authorities must work with developers and builders to enforce them. As we seek to build more homes, we must make sure that they are suitable for everyone.”