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Identifying the health gain from retirement housing

Report | June 2012

The need to find a better approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of older people will become imperative over the next twenty years if the country is to be able to manage the demographic shift towards an ageing population. A new report published by IPC highlights that one of the best options lies in a substantial growth in the development of owner occupied housing suitable for older people.

The report emphasizes that despite the fact that three quarters of older people are homeowners, choices in accommodation for this group are severely limited and often seen as unattractive. Measures to stimulate the development of housing suitable for older people could reduce expenditure on health and care services, stimulate local economies through building development, and free up family housing.

IPC’s Professor Andrew Kerslake argues that developing a wide range of housing suitable for older people to purchase, could potentially save well over £300 million per annum, at relatively little cost to the public purse. “There are not many options in older people’s care and support that are win-wins for everyone but this is one of them” adds Andrew.

The report calls for the Government to stimulate growth in this sector via a range of low key, low cost, but nonetheless potentially significant measures. These include: incentives for local authorities to release land for the development of older people’s housing; offering a stamp duty ‘holiday’ for older people moving into specialist housing; reductions in council tax for older people in specialist housing; financial support around ‘pack and move’ schemes; and a national ‘kite mark’ for housing. It also recommends that a longitudinal study is carried out to look at the health performance of different forms of retirement housing.

Download the Executive Summary.