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A better fit? Policy

Creating housing choices for an ageing population

The ageing society is one of the most well-documented and universally accepted facts of our time, so it is surprising that the housing system – both public and private – has been so slow to adapt to the changing needs of this important group. After all, the cohort of baby boomers now entering older age are both numerous and politically influential. Many of them have accumulated wealth, much of it in the form of housing equity. There is clearly a market opportunity to offer more and better housing options tailored to the needs and aspirations of older people.

At the same time, the over 55s group includes some of our most vulnerable and excluded households. Poor health, social isolation and fuel poverty are all more common among older people. There have been many attempts to respond to these problems with public policies and new initiatives – but few have sought to tackle the fundamental housing questions at the heart of many of these issues.