Older people cannot find smaller homes to move to, report finds

Alone report says over 120,000 homes for older people needed between now and 2031

Alone service users Peter Smith and Thomas McArdle at the launch of ‘Housing Choices for Older People’, published on Thursday. Photograph:  Jason Clarke

Alone service users Peter Smith and Thomas McArdle at the launch of ‘Housing Choices for Older People’, published on Thursday. Photograph: Jason Clarke

 

The majority of older people living alone (aged 60 and over) are in houses with five rooms or more, according to a report from the Alone charity.

Many would like to move into homes that are the right size for them - ie to ‘right-size’ - but a dearth of such housing in their areas is preventing them.

Alone (A little offering never ends), which supports older people with housing needs, says over 120,000 homes specifically for older people will be needed between now and 2031. A housing crisis among older people, already underway, will escalate without robust planning for this age-group’s future housing needs, it says.

The calls are made in a report, Housing Choices for Older People, published on Thursday. It calls for the allocation of publicly-owned land to build for this growing sector of housing need.

Between 2016 and 2031, the number of people aged 60 or older is projected to increase from 866,317 to 1.3 million. The number aged 70 or older will grow from 421,878 to a projected 719,982, while those aged 80 or older will grow from 147,798 to a projected 282,207. Those aged 60 and over will account for one quarter of the population by 2031.

And the proportion owning their homes is falling which will increase pressure on the rented sector as ‘younger older’ people age.

Renting

In 2016 “only two per cent of those people aged 65 and older were renting from a private landlord, compared with almost ten per cent among those aged 50 to 54”.

“Of those aged 60 and over and living alone the majority (58.7 per cent) were living in a house with five rooms or more. Over 17 per cent were living in a house with seven rooms or more.”

Alone says Government must “begin the process of building communities for people to live without their life-cycle”.

It is calling for a range of housing options, much of it to be built on public land, to include general housing, shared housing, dedicated sheltered housing and nursing home provision.

Some €84.5 million a year is needed over the next five years for housing adaptation grants to enable older people to stay in their homes. In addition 59,460 new homes within communities are needed to allow people ‘right-size’, while 16,310 shared and supported housing scheme places are needed.

In addition, 45,900 supported housing’ places will be needed between now and 2031.