To produce their most detailed annual report yet, the Centre for Ageing better have used data from a variety of sources, including Census 2021, and spoken to older people about their lives and experiences of ageing to produce a picture of our ageing population and how it is changing. Their findings show a growing divide in our experiences of ageing.
The report argues that as a society, we have been far too slow to adapt to our ageing population, a situation exacerbated by the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis. This has manifested in huge inequalities and worsening circumstances for millions of older people. The number of older private renters is at an all-time high, meaning more people will need to cover the cost of rent while living on fixed – and often meagre – incomes. The data also shows that more people are living with major illnesses and disabilities as they get older. For many, especially the poorest people, this is exacerbated by living in homes that pose a serious threat to their health and wellbeing.
The full report, available online, has sections on Homes, Our Ageing Population, Financial Security, Health and Wellbeing, Society and Work, and the Summary report includes the fourteen key actions the Centre for Ageing Better argues are needed. For housing, these are:
- Develop a national plan to fix cold and dangerous homes that are damaging people’s health.
- Make all new homes accessible so that disabled and older people can live in a home that enables them to live independently and with dignity.
The full report also recommends that local government should provide Good Home Hubs - local one-stop shops on all aspects of home repairs and adaptations, with support on everything from finding trusted tradespeople and identifying what work needs to be done, to how to finance repairs and improve energy efficiency.