Recommendations for the Regeneration of Sheltered Housing: our inquiry submission to the APPG

By Nick Sedgwick · 15 February 2024

As experts with decades of experience in older people’s housing, we have been keen to engage with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Housing and Care for Older people.

The APPG has launched a significant inquiry which focuses on the regeneration of outdated sheltered housing. Here, we outline our key recommendations which we have submitted to them.

While the Government’s recently announced Older People’s Housing Task Force primarily addresses the supply of new, purpose-built retirement housing to meet the needs of an ageing population, the new inquiry takes a closer look at revitalising our existing supply of outdated sheltered housing. From modernisation and extensions to repurposing and replacing older stock and service models, the inquiry aims to align the UK’s older people’s housing with the expectations of the 21st century.

Happy older woman on a couch, symbolising comfort and contentment in well-regenerated housing for older people.

 

Summary

• Housing for older people has not received the attention that it should
• The market for older people’s housing continues to change
• Some providers should improve their understanding of their assets
• The HAPPI principles remain key to the design of new or remodelled housing for older people
• Services are as important as the homes
• There are many opportunities to improve older people’s housing

Key Points:

 

1) Lack of Attention to Housing for Older People

Despite its significance, housing for older people has often been overlooked by providers. Many schemes date back several decades and fail to meet current standards and expectations, highlighting the need for proactive measures to address aging housing stock. We believe that older people’s housing deserves greater prioritisation and investment to ensure it remains fit for purpose and meets the evolving needs of residents.

2) Changing Market Dynamics

The market for older people’s housing continues to evolve, with diverse service offerings tailored to different demographics. Providers must adapt to demographic shifts and market demands to remain relevant and competitive. Our submission underscores the importance of understanding market dynamics and tailoring housing solutions to meet the diverse needs and preferences of older people, from independent living to assisted care facilities.

3) Asset Management Challenges

Some housing providers lack a comprehensive understanding of their assets, hindering proactive asset management. Better utilisation of data and insights can inform decision-making and identify opportunities for improvement. We advocate for improved asset management practices, including the use of technology and data analytics, to optimise the performance and sustainability of older people’s housing stock.

4) HAPPI Principles

The HAPPI principles remain crucial in designing new or remodelled housing for older people. Factors such as space, daylight, storage, and outdoor amenities are essential considerations to enhance residents’ quality of life. Our submission emphasises the importance of incorporating these principles into design and development processes to create age-friendly and inclusive housing environments that promote independence and wellbeing.

5) Focus on Services

Well-designed housing alone is not sufficient; services play a crucial role in ensuring sustainability and resident satisfaction. Flexible service models that prioritise social contact, support, and wellbeing are vital for maintaining vibrant communities. We advocate for a holistic approach to older people’s housing, which encompasses not only physical infrastructure but also the provision of supportive services that enhance residents’ quality of life and promote social inclusion.

6) Revenue Pressures and Service Cutbacks

Revenue pressures and loss of dedicated support funding have led to service cutbacks, impacting residents’ wellbeing and satisfaction. Providers must explore innovative solutions to maintain service quality despite financial constraints. Our submission highlights the importance of securing adequate funding and adopting innovative service delivery models to address the growing needs of older people and ensure their continued wellbeing and independence.

7) Opportunities for Improvement

Despite challenges, there are numerous opportunities to enhance older people’s housing. Targeted investments, redevelopment, and community engagement can revitalise ageing schemes and meet future needs effectively. We believe that by embracing innovation and collaboration, housing providers can unlock the full potential of older people’s housing and create vibrant, sustainable communities that support residents to age with dignity and independence.

Case Study: A Practical Example

In a recent project with a medium-sized housing association in the South East, we conducted a comprehensive review of services aimed at older people. This involved analysing supply and demand, gathering resident feedback, and assessing scheme performance using ASAP, our Strategic Asset Performance model. The project identified priority schemes for redevelopment and informed the association’s growth strategy, demonstrating the practical application of our expertise.

At ARK, we are committed to supporting initiatives that promote the wellbeing and quality of life for older people. We believe that through collaborative efforts and innovative solutions, we can create vibrant and sustainable communities for generations to come.

Learn more about our work and insights into housing for older people here.

For further enquiries or to discuss how we can support your organisation, please contact:

 Kieran Colgan, Director – kcolgan@arkconsultancy.co.uk

 Nick Sedgwick, Associate Director – nsedgwick@arkconsultancy.co.uk

 

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