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

Jean aldrich says:
November 23, 2017 at 06:10 PM
My husband is 84 and I’m 75. We retired to West Sussex in 1995. My husband has heart problems, having suffered an undiagnosed heart attack in 2006. After suffering several years of anti social behaviour by local yobs we did briefly consider moving. We love our house and on reflection are glad we decided to stick it out and stay put. Having myself worked for many years in local authority residential care homes, I have experienced first hand the negative aspects of residential care. We both know this would never be our choice of home at any point in our lives. For most elderly the benefits of remaining In your own home are huge in comparison. They far outweigh residential care. I brlieve the emphasise should be toward supporting.those elderly people who chose to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. The difficulties for us are coping with the garden and other everyday tasks, such as decorating etc. As you age you begin to slow down, suck tasks take longer to achieve if at all. In West Sussex they used to run a helpful scheme. For a nominal fee you could get a handyperson to undertake small tasks. This was supported, I believe through our local council/housing associations. For some reason this was disbanded, possibly became too expensive to continue. In our opinion it was an excellent scheme a great help to elderly people. Having experienced rogue tradesmen in the past, it was helpful to know the scheme was vetted and anyone who came to the house was reliable. I’m sure that had we moved we would both have regretted it.
Linda says:
November 23, 2017 at 05:55 PM
My husband and I had a lot of difficulty finding suitable housing without stairs. We tried a maisonette, but in Pinner North West London, all we could afford was a 1 bed place, which proved too cramped. It wasn't until we moved to a Park Home that we found a community atmosphere , and affordability. More over 50s and 60s , should be encouraged to try Park Home living--We certainly recommend it. Other than that more bungalows need to be built for retirees, as there is a huge shortage of places other than flats, which do not have stairs.
Susan Hannis says:
November 23, 2017 at 05:31 PM
I know that I shall be having to move within the next few years so have been looking around. My friends of similar age all agree that we want to move while we are still fit and in control of our lives, and that in the right place we shall stay fit and active for some while yet. So we have thought about what we want -

Top of the list is affordability. Around here we have new developments with expensive and totally unsuitable flats, and a new retirement complex, where the maintenance charges are ridiculously high.

It is essential that energy costs are kept down, so we want energy efficient homes. Also the homes should be simple to run and adaptable so we can stay in them if we become less mobile. But to stay active we want to be within walking distance of a shop and a bus. We want to avoid being dependent on others for as long as possible.

I had a 95 year old friend this year who was hoping to move into the retirement complex mentioned earlier, and I was helping her to think that move through. Sadly, she had a severe stroke before the flats were ready and spent the last few months of her life in a dreary residential home. Most of us want to avoid this if at all possible!

Adapting my home is not a reasonable option. It is a cottage with steep stairs and bathroom upstairs. So if anything happens to my health I know I would have to move - but I would rather move beforehand. Knowing when is the problem!

My present home is small, warm and comfortable and I enjoy the garden and contact with my neighbours, some of whom are near my age (78). Because I can walk to the shops and the riverside and to the buses, I have plenty of freedom. I take lots of exercise (I don't have a car) and grow some of my own vegetables. So if all is well, I should be able to stay here for several years yet.

Last week some friends and I took part in a consultation with a local housing association about housing for older people and shared much of this with them. We don't want 'top of the range' but we do want convenient, simple homes that are easy to run, and above all, we want to stay in our communities where all our contacts and support networks are.

What we want is not yet being provided, especially in expensive areas like mine, so we really hope the government listens.
Oliver Greene says:
November 23, 2017 at 05:12 PM
All of the above I have done. My family is wife two boys and a girl. In all there is 5 of us living in a one bed flat in a council property of sheltered accommodation. I converted the garage for a bedroom and my sitting room for wife and I and sons for 1 bedroom and daughter in garage area. At my age 67 I would not get finane and so have to rely on the local Authority to help us to move to a bigger place but yet nothing has occurred and there is no land to build on My sons have disabilities and while the eldest who is 40 is partially sighted as is my daughter the younger soon has learning difficulties and yet there is 70 sheltered accommodations vacant and sheltered housing is losing 2 bedroom properties to the housing dept which to me is totally unfair when there is 3 people in this house who qualify for sheltered housing or similar. The housing situation is dire there is not enough homes to go around and some areas the dog would not live in them. How to sort out the crisis is to build more houses but where??. It is a sicking despairing depressing situation. Stop selling properties and killing the housing stock.
David Luckraft says:
November 23, 2017 at 04:46 PM
I am not currently considering moving house because my present house is not too large for my needs and is modern and easily run. It is however a two story house and I might need to move if it became difficult for me to use the stairs. I would however be reluctant to move because of the lack of availability of single story properties and the cost of moving.

Some costs of moving are unavoidable but one large cost. stamp duty, is a result of government policy. This cost also makes the property market less efficient in other circumstances. As a result job vacencies can remain unfilled, elderly people can remain isolated from family support and people can remain in houses that are larger than they need.

Clearly stamp duty is a source of government revenue but it may not be a good one.
Derick Bird says:
November 23, 2017 at 04:43 PM
I no longer feel secure and stable due yo Brexit fearing the future so would move in an instant if the necssary finances were available. My home was adapted for wheelchair access some 25 years ago with an 'Urban Renewal Grant' which of course is no longer available but is now hell on earth obtaining repairs from my Local Authority. The bathroom was adapted for flat floor access taking out the bath and installing a power shower for incontinience. The power shower needed replacing in August but my care plan was ignored by the LA with an electric shower replacement which does not have the power for incontinence. It took one month to be replaced and was unable to wash properly during that time which was undignified. This is how the disabled are treated by the Council. [Edited to remove local authority name]
Teresa Ford says:
November 23, 2017 at 02:28 PM
I have considered downsizing but not worth it! Cost of moving physically, legally, estate agents commission, refurbishing new home, general hassle and above all having to PAY HUGE AMOUNT OF STAMP DUTY on new home, having paid all my life - simply not worth it! Also cannot find property with light and space required - all new flats and retirement homes too small, overpriced with many "strings attached" - saw retirement houses in New Zealand and USA - stylish, spacious, private, excellent facilities and reasonable price - know UK space limited - but why always so pokey, unimaginative and total financial rip off? Most rooms are so small they look like training for a coffin!
Ann MacInnes says:
November 23, 2017 at 11:48 AM
I have my flat up for sale. I am on the 1st floor and aware that I will find stairs more difficult in later life. I want to move nearer to my friends in Glasgow but there is little accommodation which is fully accessible, or has Energy Rating above D. I am involved in trying to get a not of profit, senior cohousing project built in Glasgow. Although we have had help from both a Housing Association and the Council, we can't find a site in a decent area that we can afford. If we could get it built we could look after each other reducing the need for statutory (social, health) services, ensure that we are not isolated or lonely and have fully accessible homes which we don't have to move out of because of deteriorating health and/or disability.
Margaret Drury says:
November 23, 2017 at 11:27 AM
We moved years ago from a large family home to a bungalow when we were in our 50s. I am a volunteer visitor to older people and we have older friends. I have helped older friends to access grants to adapt their home as they did not wish to move. They asked for my help as they knew about my voluntary work. The process was fairly easy - they were offered a downstairs bathroom rather than the stairlift they had requested - but it did take time for the work to be done (over 6 months). In my experience of clients who remain in their own home, once homecare is in place no one provides information on alternatives, eg housing with care. Re sheltered housing, most no longer have 'wardens' on site. My client felt at risk, without support. Money is a big issue. Housing association properties are usually not redecorated before letting. Poorer older people cannot afford to do repairs and redecorate, neither can they afford the cost of moving. It isn't just the cost. They do not have the energy to sort out where to go, what to take, pack, etc. People who are transferred from hospital directly into care homes are not offered help to empty their properties or deal with paperwork (notifying bank, DWP, etc). Not everyone has family or family willing or able to help. I've had clients in care 18 months before their bank & DWP know where they are. As councils restrict funding to voluntary bodies, there is even less help.
Adrian Hagger says:
November 23, 2017 at 09:54 AM
As I approached retirement me and my wife's housing needs changed. The children had left home and moved 10-20 miles away and the family 4 bedroom detached house was now valuable and not suitable for our retirement. So we started looking for a bungalow that was within striking distance of the children and that would also release some capital to subsidise the company pension.
We chose a very cheap area that was less than half an hours drive from our two children. However in order to make it financially sensible we moved to this rougher area which was not ideal.
The new bungalow was bought whilst still owning the house so a mortgage was needed in our late 50's. We needed to do this as the bungalow needed renovating before moving in.
The renovations were undertaken by a local builder and all decorating and DIY was completed by us. Additional costs kept mounting so that all the capital we had released was used in improving the bungalow and the move which, with house price inflation, is now worth almost £150K less than the house. Our needs have changed as both kids now have their own children so we again could do with another spare room (bungalows don't have dining rooms so our downsizing was more than we should have done).
However we were in a reasonable position financially so we are able to maintain our lifestyle but just with less space than we actually could do with. It needs to be said that interest rates are Very low so all savings, pensions are getting risible returns whilst house prices are rising each year faster than the average working salary.