Led by Julienne Meyer, Professor Emerita of Nursing at City, University of London, the Older People’s Housing Taskforce was launched on Tuesday 16th May at retirement living scheme, Grace House, in London’s St John’s Wood.
The Taskforce will run for up to 12 months, producing an independent report to The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and Department of Health and Social Care - GOV.UK (DHSC), with the aim of helping to transform housing options for older people in the UK.
The Taskforce includes directors from charities like Age UK and the chair of the Home Builders Federation, to local government leaders, CEOs of housing associations and professors on health and long-term care.
It will speak to residents and their families about their experiences on issues such as what older people want from their housing as they age, affordability and consumer protection.
Speaking at the inaugural event, Professor Meyer said:
I am excited to be working with such an expert group, and really glad this important work is now getting underway. I’m going to make sure that the voices of older people are heard at the heart of this Task Force. So one of the things I want to focus on immediately is putting people first and Consumer Protection.
We have an ageing population and urgently need to address the lack of supply and quality of older people’s housing. Whilst we want to support older people to live in their own homes for as long as they wish, existing housing stock is unsuitable for many and people are missing out on the health benefits of specialist housing. This needs to change.
Speaking at the event, Housing Minister, Rachel Maclean said:
Older people must have access to the right homes in the right places that suit their needs.
I have seen first-hand today how good quality homes have greatly improved the lives of older people. The Taskforce’s important work in the coming months will help support our commitment in delivering quality housing across the country.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said:
Most people want to stay living in their own home for as long as possible. That means having the right sort of homes to make that possible. Our Taskforce is about making that happen - so that as people thankfully live longer, you can also enjoy more years of independence living the way you want to.
I look forward to working with all the experts we have brought together in the taskforce, and putting older people’s voices at the heart of this work.
Emma O’Shea, chief operating officer at Aster Group said:
We’re pleased to host the inaugural meeting of the Older People’s Housing Taskforce at Grace House, and hope that the visit helps inform and inspire the group when considering how housing can be shaped by those that live there and adapt to their changing needs.
Grace House should be regarded as the blueprint for modern, affordable living for people aged 55 and over and demonstrates what’s possible even in more complex, urban areas. Working with our residents from the old Dora House, who have helped co-design what we see today, we’ve created a sustainable building that can generate its own energy. It is also a building that can accommodate residents’ needs as they change, with accessibility designed into the fundamentals of the building.
The innovations and efficiencies that Grace House provides will help create a healthy, comfortable environment for residents to enjoy as they head towards and live in retirement.
Chief Executive of ARCO, Michael Voges said:
Bringing together different government departments for this Taskforce shows the government is serious about tackling the challenge of older people’s housing.
With ministerial support and Professor Meyer’s leadership, we are confident that the Taskforce will help unlock the investment in new supply that is so urgently needed.
For further detail, including a full list of Older People’s Housing Taskforce members, read UK government’s news release about the event.