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Four million over 55s ‘trapped’ in current homes with no alternative accommodation  

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

Four million over 55s want to leave their homes but are unable to do so due to a lack of suitable alternatives, a housing study reports.

Research commissioned by Centre for Ageing Better found at least two million people in that age bracket are also living in homes that do not meet requirements set in ‘decent homes standard’. The study highlighted how few homes fit the criteria required for older people, as only 9% of homes are accessible and suitable for someone who is a wheelchair user or needs a step-free entrance.

Even searching for homes online with certain specifications can be difficult, as not all estate agents have search tools listing accessibility options. Of the 948,000 people who stated they wish to move home, only 8% have been able to in the last three years.

The report titled Locked out: A New Perspective on Older People’s Housing Choices suggested the issue could be addressed by more older people being consulted when local housing plans are discussed.

Meanwhile, figures from Age UK in July showed 1.3 million people over 50 have been unable to pay a standing order, bill or direct debit during the past month.

‘Few older people are able to find the right properties’

Dr Carole Easton, chief executive at Centre for Ageing Better, said: “It is abundantly clear that very few older people are currently able to find and access the right properties that could improve their quality of life.

“The solution to the problem is not incentivising or pressurising older people into downsizing. Instead, we need planning and housing to focus more on older people’s needs and deliver the right properties in the right locations and at the right price to give older people greater options than are available now to where and how they live.

“What our study found is that home, the perception of the package of social relationships, services, facilities and accommodation, rather than just the feelings about the quality and shortcoming of their house, provides the clearest indicator of older people’s preference to stay or move from where they live.”