More than two in five (43%) people aged 65 and over say declining health and mobility would make them think about moving home. Meanwhile, one in eight (12%) say they already have problems getting around their home; of those almost two in three (64%) say they have trouble getting up and down the stairs and over half (55%) say they have trouble getting in and out of the bath or shower. That’s according to a new survey by older people’s charity, Independent Age, which has launched two new, free advice guides called Getting help at home: Ways to stay independent and Choosing where to live: How to find the right option for you, prompted by concerns that older people and their families may need more information about these issues.
The survey reveals that the top three reasons that would make people aged 65 and over think about moving home are: health or mobility getting worse (43%); wanting less garden maintenance (29%); and being unable to do housework and maintenance (25%). However, almost one in three (30%) people aged 65 and over said that there is nothing that would make them think about moving home.
Other key findings of the Censuswide poll of 2,009 adults aged 65 and over in the UK found:
- On average, people aged 65 and over have lived in their home for 22 years and eight months, with more than one in three (35%) having lived in their home for more than 30 years
- More than four in five (83%) people aged 65 and over have not fully planned ahead for their future housing needs
- Just over two in five (42%) have considered downsizing. The group most likely to have considered downsizing are those who own their home but still have a mortgage (47%)
- Of those who have considered downsizing, just over one in ten (11%) expect to move within the next year, around one in four (24%) expect to move within the next one to four years, and more than one in four (28%) expect to move within the next five to 10 years
- Around two in three (65%) think that there are obstacles to downsizing, and that the main obstacles are not having enough suitable properties to choose from (22%) and costs, such as stamp duty or moving costs (16%). Those who rent from a private landlord were most likely to say there aren’t enough suitable properties to choose from (26%)
When asked where they thought they would be living in five years’ time, almost seven in 10 (68%) thought they would still be living in the home they live in now. One in seven (14%) thought they would be living in a smaller property and one in 40 (2.5%) thought they might be living in specialist housing for older people or a care home. In reality, just under one in 10, or approximately 9% of, older people in the UK are currently living in specialist housing for older people or in a care home, which suggests that having to move may take some older people by surprise. In addition to this, more than one in three (34%) wouldn’t look anywhere for advice about moving home. This suggests that some older people may not always be aware of the wide range of housing options available to them and may not know where to turn for advice and information.
Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said, “You don’t necessarily have to move home just because you’re older, but it’s really important that you’re thinking about whether your home is still right for you. It’s never too early to start thinking about what you might need in the future, so that you are prepared if a crisis hits. Getting advice about your options is a good place to start, even if you don’t need to change anything yet, so have a look at Independent Age’s two new free guides: Getting help at home and Choosing where to live.”
The new, free guides are designed to help older people and their families consider the different options available to them, whether finding out about adaptations or other services to help them stay independent in their own home, or examining the pros and cons of a range of housing options to help them make the choice that’s best for them.
Getting help at home covers getting help with household chores, managing day-to-day tasks and activities, adapting your current home, short-term help after hospital, and personal care. Choosing where to live provides information and advice on topics such as deciding whether your home is right for you, thinking about your priorities, and the different housing options to consider.
Getting help at home and Choosing where to live are completely free to order and download from independentage.org/guides-housing-homes or can be ordered by calling 0800 319 6789.
 Care of Older People UK Market Report, Laing Buisson, May 2017
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Supported Housing for Older People in the UK report, Dec 2012, P.13