How to meet the housing needs of an ageing population

25 April 2018

New research to understand, at a local level, what sort of mainstream housing older people live in, is being funded by the Centre for Ageing Better.

The grant – which has been awarded to Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) – will help local areas understand what housing they have and where older people are living, to help inform what housing an ageing population might need in future. 

Researchers at MSA will use an area of Greater Manchester to take a detailed look at the type of housing older people live in, examining factors such as tenure, size, condition, and accessibility and adaptability. They will also use local data to highlight the characteristics of different ‘types’ of older people – such as their income, health and social connections. This analysis should provide insight into the different housing choices made by three groups of older people – ‘lifestyle movers’, ‘planned movers’ and ‘crisis movers’.

By identifying the different needs of each group at a neighbourhood level, this research aims to support local areas to identify and respond to the diverse needs of their older population.

The project will set out a new methodology with the potential to help not just Greater Manchester but local areas across the country understand in greater detail what data is needed, and how to use that information to better understand local housing stock and the needs of an ageing population.

The Centre for Ageing Better’s grant is part of a strategic partnership with GMCA to support its work as the UK’s first age-friendly city region, and to generate and share new evidence of ‘what works’.

Rachael Docking, Senior Evidence Manager, Centre for Ageing Better, said:  

“The vast majority of older people live in mainstream housing and most intend to stay there. However, current housing is largely not fit for purpose and doesn’t meet the diverse needs of our ageing population. We need urgent action to ensure more people live in suitable housing in later life, and local areas are best placed to understand what homes will be needed now and in the future.

“Our research will help localities identify what information they need to make adequate plans for housing their ageing population. It will mean more places around the country can respond to demographic change and ‘future proof’ their housing stock.

“Good housing helps us stay safe, healthy, active and independent. It’s at the heart of how we respond to a society where more people are living longer.”

Prof. Stefan White, from Manchester School of Architecture, said:

“The reasons why older people move home are diverse, but always informed by a local context – the house they currently live in, and the alternative options available to them. With this research, the Centre for Ageing Better is enabling our teams to address a key area of the understanding of the housing needs of older people across our cities. This demonstrator project will use action research to build a model that strengthens the connections between local knowledge about housing provision with the strategic goal of providing more suitable housing for older people across Greater Manchester.” 

The results will also feed into the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, the subsequent local plans, and the Housing Strategy.

More information about the spatial framework.


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