Home and dry: The need for decent homes in later life
The Centre for Ageing Better and Care & Repair England's new report reveals that over two million over-55s are living in a home that endangers their health or wellbeing.
The report into non-decent housing in England found that over 4.3 million homes in England don’t meet basic standards of decency, most commonly because of the presence of a serious hazard to their occupants’ health or safety.
Poor housing can cause or worsen health conditions, reduce a person’s quality of life, exacerbate inequalities and can even result in premature death. Despite this evidence, an estimated 10 million people in England are at risk because they live in a poor-quality home. This is the equivalent of 4.3 million homes, close to half of which are homes lived in by someone over 55 years old and a million with at least one child.
The population of England is ageing rapidly. Homes where the oldest person is aged over 85 are now the fastest growing household type and by 2043 it is estimated that the number of people over the age of 65 will increase by 30% to around 16 million. This longer life should be a cause for celebration but the reality is that people in later life are more likely to live in homes that need repairs and modifications, and there has been an increase in the number of people over 75 living in homes that endanger their health, independence and ability to enjoy later life.
This report uses both previously published and new analysis by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) of the latest English Housing Survey (EHS) data (collected in 2017 and published in 2019). The aim of this report is to provide an overview of housing conditions in England, particularly in the context of population ageing, to inform the policy and practice that relates to ageing well at home.