COMMONS

Housing for older people web forum

The Communities and Local Government Committee is holding an inquiry on housing for older people. The Committee set up this web forum to hear directly from older people about their experiences of moving home in later life. This helps us understand the challenges people face and help us to focus our inquiry on the key issues.

Submit your views

This forum is now closed. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their experiences with us. Your comments will be used to inform the Committee’s thinking on this issue. 

If you, or a family member, have recently moved home, are considering doing so, or have decided not to, we wanted to hear from you.

Specifically, we were interested in your answers to any of following questions that apply to you:

  • Have you moved home recently or are you considering doing so? If so, why?
  • Have you considered moving and then decided against it? What were the reasons for this?
  • Do you know where to obtain information and advice about moving? Have you ever sought this type of advice?
  • What are your experiences of obtaining finance to move?
  • Have you experience of adapting your home to make it more accessible? How did you go about this and did you seek advice in doing so?
  • How do you feel your home affects your health and wellbeing? Have you experienced an improvement in your health and wellbeing as a result of moving?

How we use and publish this information

Your personal data will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act. The data you supply in this forum will be processed for the purpose of informing the committee’s inquiry and contributing to a report.

The information will be archived as part of official record. If you have any questions or concerns about the collection and use of your information please contact the Committee Clerk at clgcom@parliament.uk.

If you would like more information about your Data Protection rights, please contact the House of Commons Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service on 020 7219 2559 or the Information Commissioner’s Office at www.ico.org.uk, tel. 0303 123 1113.

Comment moderation

This forum is pre-moderated and comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be posted. Any allegations made against specific individuals or companies may be edited to remove identifying information before being posted.

235 Responses to Housing for older people

Sylvia Gibbs says:
November 30, 2017 at 11:52 AM
I'm 69 and moved from a private 1 bed leasehold flat to a 1 bed flat in Stockport, it is under a Leasehold Scheme for the Elderly for over 55s with a not for profit housing association whereby you buy 70% of the property and pay a service Charge. There are 1 and 2 bed flats, 2 bed houses and 2 bed bungalows. The residents paid service Charge on apportionment basis and part of that charge goes into a sinking fund. I thought it would be ideal and stress free. After a few months I came to realise I was wrong. If you report repairs needing doing we have to chase up all the time and the housing association seem to deal with most things by ignoring emails, letters, not returning phone calls. A couple of the residents (including myself) notice from service Charge accounts that we had been vastly overcharged for communal electricity for 2 years (instead of £400 were charged £2500/£3000) and similarly for window cleaning and when we pointed out to the housing association we were firstly ignored then they eventually admitted this. It took 2 years to get one of those overcharges back and we have not yet had the benefit of the other overcharge. After that I discovered that for about 4 years the accounts had been wrong as any surplus from previous accounts was carried forward to next service Charge budget but then brought forward to the next accounts as a deficit so that we continually overcharged. I brought this to their attention but again they ignored this in the hope I would give up. Most of the people at this scheme are much older than 55, many in their 70s/80s and in not so good health and have no idea that they are being overcharged, so I have had to chase the association by myself. It has taken me months to eventually get them to admit that they owe us money. We now need major works doing here and going through the section 20 process, which they started over a year ago, they either don't understand the process or won't follow it - they have delayed the process and now tell us that the cost will go up in January but the contractors won't now be able to start the work until March. They seem to be totally incompetent/or they are trying to scam us in practically everything they do. They have now written to us to say that everyone will pay the same service Charge (even though the size/type of properties differ, without even consulting residents. We pay them a management charge and get practically no service from them, they don't monitor any repairs/services we pay for, which are generally done badly. Their complaints procedure is a farce, They try to block you from taking the procedure further. I thought I was moving to stress free living but am greatly disappointed and frustrated with the situation. I don't know how other Housing Associations compare and would not have moved here had I known how things would turn out, but you can't know until it's too late.
Janis Ford says:
November 30, 2017 at 07:17 AM
It is very possible that i shall move in the future, yet i have no idea how to go about it, or where to find help and the relevant services that i shall require.
For health reasons i shall need to be near local public trandsport services, so a lot to be taken into consideration.
Nick Hunn says:
November 29, 2017 at 11:37 PM
Coming up to retirement, we recently made the decision to move from the outskirts into central London. The main reason behind that was to improve our access to public transport and to be within walking distance of local shops, GP surgery and hospital. It was also a desire to be part of a more vibrant community that would provide plenty for us to do. We felt that if we didn’t make the move as we entered out sixties, we never would. Although going somewhat against the norm, it’s a decision we’ve never regretted.

In choosing a house, we were aware that we would probably want to make some alterations to ensure that it would suit our needs, hence planned some extensions. Our aim was to follow the guidelines published by groups such as HAPPI and RIBA to accommodate assistive technologies and accessibility. However, we have been told by the planners that these are irrelevant. Their view on the planning process does not take any such requirements into account (although they’re quite happy to apply for awards for their own developments). We support their desire to retain as many period features as possible to maintain the character of the area, but feel that the approach is devoid of any sense of compromise, or of updating property to support a mixed age population. It has highlighted that there is a gap in understanding about upgrading existing housing stock to meet the needs of an aging population. Most effort seems to be going into regulations for new build homes, but there seems to be a equal need to consider how to make it easier to adapt existing ones.
Sarah Walsgrove says:
November 29, 2017 at 08:56 AM
My father who has a small amount of savings (£11,000) has adapted his home by adding a stairlift (£4,500) a level access shower (£6,000) he bought a rise and recline chair (£2,000) and various other minor aids and adaptions, (all paid for by him) there is no way he would be able to manage at home without these items. SS assessed his care needs and said he could have one 15 minute visit each morning - he would never manage on that amount of care. Family provide breakfast and tea for him three days a week and we pay a private care agency to do it every other day - this now costs him over £600 a month (half what he gets in AA). He gets no Council Tax benefit so that costs him £1000 a month, he gets no PCG. Family do housework and shopping for him. Housing with Care is almost impossible to find in our area and sheltered housing would not really offer anything more than he can get at home. I come across a lot of older people with problems though my work and the resources for sheltered housing seem to be reducing all the time, there is no social value anymore as staff have been cut to a minimum, there are no wardens at most of the developments now so it is just like being at home with a pendant alarm. We need to make proper, funded older people's housing available which will cater for their need for shopping, meal delivery, housework and washing up etc they need social support as many people in sheltered housing are as lonely as those living alone. If the government wants older people to live independently for as long as possible either Housing with care needs to be greatly increased or support for people living at home greatly increased to actually deal with the practicalities of living alone with health issues or disability - assessments are solely focused on whether people can get out of bed, wash and dress - if they can then frankly as far as the government is concerned you are on your own. I really don't think that is a fair way to treat people and it can not be allowed to continue.
Helen Ord says:
November 28, 2017 at 11:51 AM
Providing advice to parents on moving. Lack of independent supported living arrangements with some outside garden space. A smaller property with such arrangements would enhance life as despite being 89 and 83 years, they are still independent but would benefit from someone being around to check on them and offer support if and when required.
Mike Bojczuk says:
November 27, 2017 at 09:35 PM
My comments stem from the volunteering I do with the South East Forum on Ageing and with the Older People's Council, Brighton and Hove.
Older people I know who have moved have done so into flats which wasn't always their first choce of dwelling. They found downsizing difficult - most commonly a lack of suitable sized properties in their area of choice. All wanted to downsize but not to move too far away. What is apparent is that there are few if any small two bed houses in most locations. These would be a better option to flats as most older people are not used to living on top of others. New housing developments seem to be blocks of flats or detached executive homes. Can the Government not stipulate a number of small houses in a development. Where they do they are targetting first time buyers and not the elderly downsizers. Could stamp duty be reduced or scrapped for those downsizing?
I have seen issues with older people who bought their council house in the 1980s. These are difficult to sell in certain areas and prohibits a move. I know of those who bought their flat this way and as well as difficulty in selling and moving on, there are those who want to stay but are faced with huge service charges for building repairs which their neighbour council tenants do not have to pay. They feel punished for buying their own home.
Where adaptations have been made there is a feeling that their house is devalued and also a fear of not getting the same put into a new home if they move.
Since the Grenfell fire, our council have had a knee jerk reaction and have banned mobility scooters being kept on the ground floor storage areas. These are elderly or disabled people who do not want to leave buggies outside due to vandalism so their only option is to keep them in or outside their flat - again a fire risk. Buggies need to be charged up so again is this a risk? Yet little is done to accommodate their need.
One couple I know live on the 6th floor of a council block of flats. She cannot walk and uses a mobility scooter, he is over 80 years old. They didn't know of help they could have for adaptations or even moving to a senior housing scheme which would be more suitable. Can you recommend that councils be more proactive with their very old tenants and leaseholders? Senior schemes have mobile 50 year olds which is allowed, some of whom work but those who have aged and are less mobile have become trapped in unsuitable accomodation. The housing software can identify those most at risk of isolation in this way.
Valerie Smith says:
November 27, 2017 at 08:33 PM
There are very few houses suitable or affordable, with security of tenure for older people to rent. It is virtually impossible to find public housing to rent. Rental for private housing is beyond the pockets of many elderly people.
Valerie Smith says:
November 27, 2017 at 08:32 PM
There are very few houses suitable or affordable, with security of tenure for older people to rent. It is virtually impossible to find public housing to rent. Rental for private housing is beyond the pockets of many elderly people.
Joyce Steel says:
November 27, 2017 at 03:14 PM
I am a newly moved in resident at [***] in Thornton Merseyside with Housing and Care 21.

I moved to Independent Living accommodation as I was struggling to maintain my house.

My family enquired for me at [***] as they had a relative living there.
I didn't apply for financial help to move as I was not aware there was any help available. My family assisted me with funding to move.

I had been waiting 9 months to hear about having adaptations at my home after a fall, when I heard that there was a vacant property at [***].

I feel very settled in my new home and I am glad that I made the move and have no regrets.

[Edited to remove address]
Mandy evans says:
November 27, 2017 at 02:42 AM
I am a 58 yr old lady living in a block of 4 flats at present , my neighbours at the moment are relatively quiet , but I have to say a few of them have been horrendous to live by, which at my age I should not have to tolerate at all.
Older persons accommodation is very few and far between for people of my age , also what is available to the elderly should have on site supervision and 24/7 cctv monitoring all elderly people's complex's which will give them peace of mind . Loneliness kills and many elderly people live alone so the warden is prob the only friendly face they see all day . Bring back warden controlled complex's and put a smile on an elderly persons face ☺☺☺