Building more bungalows WON’T solve housing crisis

According to think tank, Policy Exchange, which is close to David Cameron, building more bungalows could help solve the housing crisis by encouraging older people to move out of bigger homes to make way for younger families, as reported by several newspapers today.

I think the point is being missed once again. What older people need is access to more purpose built, quality retirement developments with the security and support services they offer, not just another house albeit a house on one level. When people retire they want an aspirational home to move to, with great looking facilities in a nice area – but they also want somewhere that gives them the peace of mind that living as part of a community offers and access to care services should they need them when they get older. . However there is a severe lack of retirement properties in the UK. We are an ageing population, with predictions that one in three babies born today can expect to live until 100 and that 19 million will be over the age of 65 by 2050 in England and Wales.

An article in the Telegraph (22 April 2013) mentions a 2002 Mori report that found that 30 per cent of people wanted to live in a bungalow, demonstrating that the prospect of moving to a bungalow was a “pull factor” for pensioners. And research by Halifax that said that bungalows were people’s favourite type of home, scoring well on “facilities such as security, cleaning and ease of use”.

I can understand this ‘pull factor,’ but suggest that a well-designed retirement apartment with contemporary features, within a purpose built complex, offers a similar proposition for older people, but without the land footprint that comes with a bungalow. Let’s not forget that purpose built retirement developments fulfil the requirements of the older generation, who need to feel secure within their own environment.

The services of a House Manager, secure door entry systems, 24 hour emergency call systems as well as living amongst like-minded people will offer such security. There is also the added advantage of the fact that the maintenance of the building and the gardens are the responsibility of the maintenance company.

We desperately need developers to be encouraged by Government to build more high spec retirement homes for people to move to when they get older. This will help free up houses for the younger generation. Come on, Mr Cameron, ‘get with the programme’!

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