Taking extra care in these extraordinary times

Last Thursday, Philip Collins in The Times wrote a hard hitting article on the state of care at home and care homes in the light of the Covid-19 entitled, ‘Better care for the elderly begins at home. Coronavirus has exposed the inadequacy of our care homes and highlighted the benefits of US-style retirement villages’. In it he made the case for retirement villages and the growth of developments on mainland Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the US compared to the UK.

In reply, the Housing LIN responded with a letter to The Times’ Editor as follows:

Sir, Philip Collins' ‘Better care for the elderly begins at home’, exposes present challenges in our care economy and also shows how the housing market has responded to ageing in other countries.

It's over 10 years since the government's national strategy on housing for older people, ‘Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods’, and the first HAPPI (‘Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation’) report. Three follow up HAPPI inquiries and a Select Committee paper have revealed that there are a considerable lack of 'care ready' housing options for older adults in the UK.

Pre-coronavirus, we were only building 5,000-7,000 much needed purpose-built, age-friendly homes a year across all tenures. This already represents a significant shortfall on the tens of thousands of such extra care housing required each year up until at least 2030.

The current situation demands action to "ramp up" the supply so we don't fall further behind. Let’s harness the learning from these reports to plan, invest, design and build a new generation of housing post-Covid, that offers a range of safe, attractive and affordable housing choices, accessible for all ages.

Yours faithfully,

Jeremy Porteus