What developments in the built environment will support the adaptation and 'future proofing' of homes and local neighbourhoods so that people can age well in place over the life course, stay safe and maintain independent lives?

This Foresight paper by Dr Judith Torrington examines how current housing stock and the built environment can meet the needs of an ageing population, and which changes to design could affect positive change on people's lives.

The paper discusses the role under-occupation can have on the housing market and people's wellbeing, but evidence suggests there are insufficient alternatives available. Small changes to housing design, such as having well-lit stairs or a ground floor bathroom can have potentially significant impacts on people's wellbeing. This is not to underestimate the importance of a well-designed neighbourhood. Local areas which facilitate older people's community participation, access to open space, facilities, and health and social care all demonstrate positive changes in people's health.