What we want: Future-proofing retirement housing in England
Retirement communities – housing designed specifically with emerging care needs in mind – are one solution for addressing important issues around housing and care in later life.
Yet only 0.7% of people aged 65+ in the UK live in specific housing-with-care models. There therefore remains significant scope for the sector to grow and to feature more prominently in the typical path through later life.
This report has highlighted a variety of trends that will shape how future demand for retirement communities may evolve over the next 20 years. These include:
Demographic trends are clear. The retirement community sector will need substantial growth over the next 20 years just to keep up with age-related growth; with respect to those aged 65+ in England, this means a boost of 37.3% by 2040. Progress should also be urgently made, with an 8.8% increase by 2025 to keep up with trends.
Finances appear strong for the moment. A key target group for retirement communities – homeowners aged 68-77 today – are best positioned in terms of housing value, while younger age groups may require adjustment to costing models in the medium and longer term. The market may also be fairly robust to the shock from the pandemic if the experience over the 2008 financial crisis is any indicator.
What people want matters. Decisions around housing moves are complex, and future efforts to connect people to retirement communities will require personalisation rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. People are looking for satisfaction in housing that allows them to age in place. Policy can play a role in shifting cultural attitudes around retirement communities.
As we move beyond the crises of the pandemic and have a clearer picture of how health, social, and economic trends are emerging, stakeholders will be able to adapt and develop their own plans to ensure the retirement community sector is stronger in delivering a critical part of the infrastructure for our ageing society.
Author: Brian Beach