Older persons housing strategy

Over 50's consultation

We completed a borough wide consultation with residents over 50 from all tenures across the borough, to identify what people want and what their expectations are for future housing.

The survey looked at respondents' current housing, their future housing needs and intentions and their personal circumstances. This section highlights the key outcomes from the consultation, but there is also an associated report available which provides more detailed results of the consultation.


Key Consultation Outcomes


  • Survey respondents were predominantly owner occupiers (60%), with 46% being mortgage free. The bulk of the remaining respondents rented from the council (29%) and 4% rented from a Housing Association.
  • The majority of respondents intend to stay in the borough as they age and either buy outright (35%) or rent from the council (31%), renting from the private rented sector is the least preferred option. A good proportion of people (49%) saw themselves moving within the next 15 years
  • A considerable percentage of respondents (52%) would consider having adaptations installed in their existing home which could enable them to remain living in their home independently for much longer. Almost half of those would be willing to pay for or make some financial contribution towards the adaptations.
  • A bungalow is still the most sought after dwelling in the borough for older people (70.1%). However there was still a significant number of people that would consider apartment living, 39% would consider a flat above 1st floor (10.6% without a lift) and 33.9% would consider a flat on the ground floor.
  • The top 5 most important features of a new home and all virtually as equally important, were:
    • A spare bedroom
    • An outdoor space
    • Modern kitchen & bathroom
    • Enough storage space
    • Parking
  • The 5 most important aspects when moving to a new home, in order of priority were:
    • Being near shops, transport and facilities
    • Friendly sociable neighbourhood
    • Safety & security
    • Having an outdoor space
    • Being near friends and family
  • Designated for older people or mixed age living? Only half the participants responded to this question and there was more or less an equal divide between those who preferred to live in communities of the same age 50+and those who wanted to live amongst mixed age communities
  • Over 63% of participants would not consider moving to accommodation designated for the elderly
  • Barriers for moving were predominantly emotional ties, but lack of affordable housing options was a concern this was closely followed by " packing up being too daunting"
  • Respondents were clear where to go for information on housing and many used the internet and were open to receiving digital information
  • The survey asked owner occupiers whether they would consider schemes that have been implemented in other boroughs that involved the council taking over their property:
    • leasing it to the council in exchange for an income towards residential care - 19% would, 41% expressed an interest in more information
    • selling it to the council at a discounted rate in exchange for a council dwelling - 15% would, 30% expressed an interest in more information which suggests there may be enough interest in this borough for us to investigate the viability of these types of scheme.

In addition to the survey we also organised focus groups with representatives from the social rented sector and the owner occupied and private rented sector

Focus Groups

Social Housing representatives:

  • Current sheltered accommodation is poor; they wouldn't choose to move to it.
  • There is a need for better design in the layout, larger rooms, storage space, modern facilities & parking.
  • Bungalows are the desired solution for most older people
  • What would encourage moving especially with the lack of development in bungalows - higher financial incentives, and housing based on luxury retirement models were suggested
  • Future housing for this age group should be in town centres, be near mixed age groups but not included with them - participants preference in this cohort was for accommodation with a designated age group 50+

Owner Occupier and other Rented Representatives:

  • It was important to the group to recognise getting older alone doesn't mean you don't want to continue living the life you always have been. It's usually life changing events such as deteriorating health and mobility or bereavement that restrict your options.
  • Housing location near shops, transport and facilities of high importance
  • Social inclusion is key - communal facilities are deemed essential, internal and external along with good management to encourage social participation.
  • a preference to live in mixed age communities, that encourage engagement and interaction between both
  • Significant improvements in the design of older persons housing is needed to encourage movement amongst older people, again based on the luxury retirement models, but with suggestions for reducing costs and social inclusion
  • Would like to see development that can meet changing needs, so people can move with limited upheaval to the next type of accommodation that meets their needs without leaving familiar surroundings and people
  • When the offer to older people has improved re-marketing and re-branding older peoples housing was suggested
  • Participants indicated that they do not intend to rely on family for future support needs; know they have to provide for themselves practically and financially. No evidence that any planning was in place yet

Key Challenges Identified from the consultation

  • Improving and changing the public perception of older peoples housing; the number of people who wouldn't consider designated accommodation for older people is high and perceptions of current sheltered is low.
  • Better promote schemes in the borough that enable adaptations to be installed in people's homes, to increase uptake and reduce the need for specialised housing.
  • Breaking the cycle of demand for specific types of tenure e.g. "bungalows" particularly from the social rented sector. Although popular for older people bungalows are now considered from a development point of view as "grossly inefficient in terms of land use and the values they achieve"[1] This would suggest fewer new developments of this type of housing will become available so different types of housing options need to be developed and promoted to older people.
  • Providing a better and wider choice of housing options for older people in the borough that they want to live in and can afford. New developments are needed informed by the results of this consultation, and existing stock needs to be improved
  • Identifying and removing the barriers that are preventing older people from choosing to "right size" at the right time. People who live in good quality accommodation, that meets their changing needs are healthier and happier anything that prevents people achieving these needs to be addressed. Emotional ties we cannot do anything about, but providing practical help with packing, moving etc. could be a consideration.
  • Work to remove social isolation of older people in the provision and design of their future housing. Loneliness and isolation amongst older people has been a focus of media attention recently and the negative impact on health and wellbeing are becoming widely known, the consultation highlighted that it is an important factor for future housing for older people in this borough.