Editor: News that increasing numbers of over-65s will seek a sense of community in later life as a result of the pandemic adds urgency to the elderly living sector’s need for modernisation (‘Pandemic shifts view of later living for quarter of over 65s’).
Providing for our elderly citizens is a moral responsibility, but it could also be an advantageous investment opportunity and an aid to post-pandemic economic recovery.
According to a recent Savills report, elderly living in the UK is undersupplied by up to 45%, before considering the high risk of existing stock becoming obsolete. And with over-65s expected to account for almost 25% of the UK population by 2039, the importance of having a mature UK elderly living market is only going to increase.
It is our duty as a society to provide the care our elderly citizens need, which is why an injection of £7bn into adult social care, as proposed by Care England, would be extremely welcome in the hard-hit sector.
Increased investment would help operators provide more than just improved care homes. Other forms of age-appropriate accommodation would enable residents to enjoy later life safely and comfortably, while still maintaining much of the independence many value so highly. Diversifying the range of options would benefit residents by opening up different accommodation tailored to their individual needs.
Providing a platform for our elderly population to thrive could also boost the UK’s post-pandemic recovery. Recognising their greater affinity for bricks-and-mortar businesses compared with other age groups, high street regeneration projects are increasingly being designed with over-65s in mind.
Granting elderly people easier access to commercial hubs could deliver substantial returns on investment for communities. The development of inter-generational housing has to be our future focus, bringing together mainstream and affordable housing, independent extra care and residential care homes. This will help establish our community hubs for the future.
Jitesh Patel, senior development manager, Kajima Partnerships