Housing for older people Contents


1.Our predecessor committee originally launched this inquiry in February 2017. Several days before the first oral evidence session was due to take place, the 2017 General Election was called and the inquiry closed pending the dissolution of Parliament. We decided to relaunch the inquiry in September 2017 and called for updates to the written submissions we had already published and new evidence from those who had not already contributed.

2.The decision to examine the issue of housing for older people was a consequence of our predecessor committee’s inquiries on adult social care and capacity in the building industry. The evidence heard during these inquiries brought to the fore the facts that we have an ageing population with resultant health and care needs and a general shortage of homes. Our predecessors were rightly concerned to find out whether the housing on offer now and planned for the coming years would support the needs of older people.

3.This inquiry has revealed that housing for older people is a complex topic covering the situation for people who ‘stay put’ as much as those who move and what they move to. There are a range of issues involved from home maintenance and adaptations to the role of housing in health and social care integration. As the evidence of Care and Repair notes:

Just like any other age group, ‘older people’ are highly diverse. They may be rich, poor or somewhere in between. They may be healthy or have health problems, physical and/or mental. Their housing situations and the options open to them vary greatly dependent upon their tenure, geographical location, income and equity. Their personal situations — links with family, friends, neighbours, their interests, lifestyles and aspirations — are also diverse.1

With this in mind, we have sought to produce a report which reflects the diversity of older people in terms of their ages, their individual circumstances and their choices and preferences. This report considers the provision of advice and information on housing; the link between housing and health; the situation for people who ‘stay put’ and for those who move home; housing options and supply and, finally, the need for a national strategy. In the Housing White Paper, the Government stated its intention to explore the issues relating to housing for older people and find sustainable solutions to any emerging problems.2 We hope that this report will feed into that process.

4.We are grateful to everyone who contributed to our inquiry. We received over 100 submissions and updates from local authorities, housing developers and providers, academics, think tanks and members of the public. The themes emerging from our written evidence were explored in five evidence sessions and supplemented with informal evidence from members of the public who contributed to our web forum and a survey of the members of Later Life Ambitions.3 While we have all seen sheltered housing in our constituencies, we were keen to visit examples of specialist housing in the context of this inquiry and saw flats built to Lifetime Homes standards in Hounslow and extra care housing in Dunstable and Battersea. We are extremely grateful to Habinteg, the Associated Retirement Community Operators, LifeCare Residences and Central Bedfordshire Council for arranging these visits and to the residents who kindly showed us around their homes. Thank you also to our specialist advisor, Christine Whitehead, Emeritus Professor of Housing Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

1 Care and Repair [HOP 013] para 2.3

2 MHCLG, Fixing our broken housing market, February 2017

3 Later Life Ambitions [HOP 036]

8 February 2018