Home Housing London’s Older Homeowners Shut Out Of Housing-With-Care, New Report Finds

London’s Older Homeowners Shut Out Of Housing-With-Care, New Report Finds

by Kirsty Kirsty

New analysis from ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators) has found that over half of London boroughs do not have any housing-with-care schemes for older homeowners, despite 7 in 10 older Londoners owning their home.

The finding comes from a new manifesto on housing-with-care for older people in the capital.

ARCO is challenging all London Borough councillors and staff who work in housing and planning to visit a modern housing-with-care scheme by the end of this year.

Drawing on new analysis from the Centre for London, ARCO’s manifesto reveals that between 2011 and 2021, London saw an 8% increase in residents over 75, yet the provision of specialist housing-with-care remains extremely low.

Modern housing-with-care schemes – known as Integrated Retirement Communities (IRCs) – combine 24-hour on-site support, restaurants and gyms, as well as onsite care if it is required. They have been shown to improve wellbeing, reduce loneliness and need for personal care.

Despite these benefits, 19 out of 32 London Boroughs currently offer no such housing solutions for the city’s homeowners aged over 75.

With just 8,835 units available across all tenures, London’s provision of IRCs pales in comparison to other capital cities, such as Auckland in New Zealand, where 7% of the older population lives in modern housing-with-care.

James Lloyd, Director of Policy and Communications for ARCO said:

“Modern housing-with-care schemes can transform older people’s lives for the better – but Londoners are missing out. Thousands of older Londoners experience unnecessary ill-health, loneliness and loss of independence because of the lack of options in the capital.

Ahead of the Greater London elections in May, we are calling on all political parties to commit to improving housing options for older people in London.”

ARCO’s manifesto, An IRC in Every Borough, also calls for:

  • All Greater London Assembly (GLA) Members and GLA staff, London Borough Councillors and officials, who have relevant portfolios, to visit an Integrated Retirement Community in or around London by the end of 2024.
  • London Boroughs to produce an Older People’s Housing Action Plan to set out how the borough will meet its targets and which partners it will work with to do so. This plan should be joint responsibility of cabinet members responsible for adult social care, housing and public health.
  • The GLA to convene an Older People’s Housing Forum for London Boroughs so that cabinet members responsible for adult social care, public health and housing can share ideas, insight and learnings on developments in their boroughs.

Josh Cottell, Head of Research for Centre for London said:

“A growing older population in London is a cause for celebration, but at present too many are unable to access the housing they need.

Many older people face ill-health, with Londoners facing a shorter healthy life expectancy than the average across England. Meanwhile, high housing costs mean that older people who live alone in the capital have a lower income after paying for housing than the English average.

All Londoners deserve to have a genuine choice about where and how to live as they age. To achieve this, more needs to be done to ensure that we are providing the right homes in the right places.”

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