We are failing to meet the needs of older people

This is true, and we have failed to meet their needs for many years. Local plans produced by districts, boroughs, and cities across the country rarely have provision for housing for older people, and where they do, it is usually unsophisticated and limited to care homes or sheltered accommodations. Councils are having to build homes, or modify existing properties at great expense, to meet the needs of an aging population. Considering the over-65s demographic is set to grow from 11.2 million today to 17.2 million by 2040 – older people accounting for 25-30% of the population in many areas – this is a travesty.

It is pleasing to see, however, that in the consultation launched by DLUHC in December on proposed changes to NPPF, specialist housing for older people is mentioned. It suggests councils should focus on delivering more care homes, retirement, and assisted living developments in their areas.

Without housing options, older people tend to stay in their family homes. This in itself restricts the market by blocking them, so they are not available for new families. By providing more desirable options for people over 55, they are more likely to move into homes that meet their needs, and the different levels of assistance or care that they require as they get older.

This will release larger homes back into the market, enabling younger families to utilise them. The knock-on effect will free smaller homes and so aid mobility, especially for younger generations.

Anything which improves options for older people and further frees the housing market should be supported. The DLUHC consultation concludes in March.