At our next event on Monday 14th July, we’ll be debating how to provide accommodation for elderly people and whether Intelligent Homes is the best way to meet the housing needs of elderly people. Although this will also be relevant to people who are infirm, disabled and housebound, we have decided to focus on the needs of elderly people.
The context is an ageing population, increased financial austerity and a major housing crisis. Within this are various issues, such as, how do we either reduce or pay for the high cost of falls and other difficulties to beset our elderly[, infirm and disabled] people?
- nA YouGov poll found that 63% of people aged 65 to 75 were concerned they would not have enough money to fund their retirement. Half of them feared having to sell their homes or use savings earmarked for their children’s inheritance to pay for care costs later in life.
- A 2009 BUPA survey of baby boomers found that 37% still think the Government will pay for their old age care, despite predicted public spending cuts. A similar percentage (39%) think they’ll have to pay for it themselves.
- Some people are “asset rich but income poor”. This means that new ways must be found to convert property assets into income. This could become a major economic and political issue.
- Around 1.2 million single people and couples over 60 are living in fuel poverty [DEFINITION]. Over 60s make up nearly half of all households in fuel poverty. Approximately 2.2 million older people are living in poverty, with about half of these living in ‘deep’ poverty, well below official poverty levels.
The 5 main options as we understand them are:
- Make people’s own homes more liveable by using technology , an approach known as Intelligent Homes which could also include robotics.
- Adapt people’s homes to make them easier for older people to live in
- Give people social and human support in their own homes
- Redesign retirement homes
- There are alternative ways for older people to live that are better than either staying in their own homes or moving to retirement homes