Solving the housing dilemma is “complicated” says Kirstie Allsopp

TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp, writing in The Times[i], pointed out that everyone is too focused on the young getting on the property ladder when it’s the elderly who need to be helped down it.

Ms Allsopp highlighted that many older people are living in inappropriate homes that are too large and cold for them, but that solving this housing dilemma is “complicated” saying “it’s about the right flats for the young and moving older people into more thoughtful accommodation.”

Gillian Girling, Chief Executive at Girlings Retirement Rentals agrees but says that older people need homes designed specifically for their needs, either to rent or buy, so that they can downsize if they choose to.

She says, “In our experience many older people want to downsize to a home that is smaller and more manageable, however there is a shortage of homes being built for older people that would encourage them to move. With an ageing population this is something that needs to be addressed, so downsizing is an attractive and viable option.

“Downsizing can be very emotional for people as they have great memories of a home they have spent a lot of time in, plus there is the physical impact of having to move which gets harder as people age. It can be a wrench to move so people will only want to do it if there are housing choices that meet their expectations and aspirations.

“Increasingly we see a growing number of older people downsizing to rent in purpose built retirement developments, especially if they are granted the security of an Assured Tenancy, which provides the same security of tenure as home ownership.

“There are also financial benefits. If people have a property to sell they can then invest the equity or use it to supplement their retirement income. There are rental properties available to suit all budgets and people will have the reassurance they won’t be faced with surprise bills as the property maintenance and service charges are included in the rent.”

“As an ageing nation the housing needs of older people has to become more of a priority. Building age appropriate housing, whether for rent or to buy that older people will want to move to will give people the choice to downsize if they wish to a home that is better suited to their needs.” concludes Gillian Girling.


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