Older persons housing strategy
The national context
Our Older Persons Housing Strategy has been informed by objectives at a national level as well as predictions in growth and future demographics.
This section highlights the relevant key points from the national objectives and forecasts that have influenced this strategy.
Currently 19.4m people in the UK are over 60 years of age, and this is now predicted to rise to 31.1million by 2037.
This Government and preceding governments have been aware of the challenge ahead of providing suitable housing for an increasingly ageing population, and started to review the situation as far back as 2008. They identified early on that most homes and communities are not designed to meet people's changing needs as they grow older and the need for a better and wider range of housing options for older people is required.
Reports and all party specialist groups were commissioned to take a detailed look into this area. As a result direct links were established between good quality housing that meets the changing needs of older people and improved health and wellbeing, leading to lower demand for healthcare and support services. A set of design principles have been produced, known as the 10 HAPPI Principles. These are 10 key design elements now considered essential in the improvement and development of older people's housing:
- Space and flexibility
- Daylight in the home and in shared spaces
- Balconies and outdoor space
- Adaptability and 'care ready' design
- Positive use of circulation space
- Shared facilities and 'hubs'
- Plants, trees, and the natural environment
- Energy efficiency and sustainable design
- Storage for belongings and bicycles
- External shared surfaces and 'home zones'
In addition a number of national policies and strategies have been developed to encourage improvement to the housing options available for older people, and increased support services to prolong independence. The government also committed funding to adapt existing homes to meet health and mobility needs through Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG's) and have improved accessibility to information on housing and support options available for older people through "First Stop" on-line information and advice service.