Urgent call to adapt housing for ageing population

Older person at home

Policy makers need to consider an ageing population when designing housing policies 

12th July 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Older people will become more isolated and lonely if Scotland’s housing is not adapted and developed for an ageing population warns a leading charity.

Figures released by National Records of Scotland this week show the number of households with someone aged 70 and over is projected to increase by 58% compared to a rise of only 2% in those under 70.
Over the next 25 years, older people who live alone is expected to rise by nearly 50%.

Age Scotland called the figures a wake up call.

Delia Henry, charity director for Age Scotland said: “Scotland is ageing to a greater extent than the rest of the UK and over the next 20 years almost a third of all Scots will be over 60, increasing to almost 1.8 million.

“Quite frankly, Scotland isn’t building enough homes to meet our rapidly ageing population. These need to include different sizes, type, tenure and locations.

“We know from our own research that older people wish to remain living independently in their own home in later life and adapt it to suit their needs rather than moving elsewhere. As people get older and health needs change it is vital that their homes are able to be adapted to suit their needs.”

Research by the charity identified that more than 60% of older people own their home and 48% of people aged 55 and above would prefer to stay and adapt their own homes, with 26% preferring to move to a home more suitable to their needs and things that are important to them as they get older.

Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, backed the call.

“There are a number of demographic issues – like increasing numbers of households and an ageing population – that are creating huge pressures on our housing system which is already failing to meet demand,” he said.

“It is vital that we plan long-term to build enough homes of the right type in the right places and to ensure that accessible housing is available to everyone who needs it.

“We need to make sure that all parts of the housing market work well together to ensure a steady and sufficient supply of new, social and affordable homes that meet everyone’s needs – whatever age they are.”