Dunwood Court

Dunwood Court

September 04, 2009 04:00 ET

News: Housing Timebomb-Britain's Pensioners Failing to Plan for Their Future

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 4, 2009) - Research has revealed that a shockingly high number of retired people in the UK are failing to plan for their future and are not considering their housing needs as they get older. The survey carried out by Dunwood Court, a close care retirement development, found that 62% of retired people have not thought about their living arrangements for the future and, most alarmingly, almost half (49%) of eighty somethings have still not considered this.

According to the research, of the 11.5 million(i) people of retirement age in the UK, just 34% have considered the issue of housing in their later years. Of these, 1.27million(ii) (32%) waited until home maintenance or health problems forced them to think about their living arrangements. Yet, by this stage, it is often too late, making the move more difficult and limiting the available options.

Professor Malcolm Johnson AcSS, Professor of Health and Social Policy Emeritus at University of Bristol, says: "The survey findings are very much in line with academic studies. Current cohorts of older people worry about their futures, but most do not actively plan for the time when they will become less able. In fact more than half of them are likely to die without even writing a Will.

"The majority of older people only leave their lifetime homes because of a health or other crisis, and therefore end up with someone else making the decision on where they live out their lives - often a care home."

When asked about their priorities for their future living arrangements, more than three quarters (77%) of the people surveyed said that living in their own house was the most important factor. Yet, as the report highlights, the majority of older people are not doing the necessary planning required to ensure that they are able to stay in their own homes.

The second most desirable housing requirement was feeling safe (46%) - a factor that grows in importance with age; 41% of sixty somethings think feeling safe is significant, rising to 49% of seventy somethings and 56% of eighty somethings.

Other top needs for people's living arrangements in the future include mobility around the house (36%) and easy access to health care (36%).

Malcolm comments: "Delaying making good provision for your later old age is still widespread, but the trends are gradually moving towards planning. For example, the baby-boomers (now in their early sixties) because they are better off, more educated and more accustomed to moving are likely to be active planners of every aspect of old age. These new entrants to retirement are anxious to use their resources to make sure they do not become dependent (and a burden) on family.

"But they will want - and be willing to pay for - flexibility and quality. They are seeking out arrangements that provide high standards of accommodation and the availability of expert care when it is needed."

The research also found that men are more forward thinking than women. A quarter (24%) of men thought about their future living arrangements at retirement or before, while just 14% of women did this. Females are also more likely to 'bury their head in the sand' and avoid thinking about it altogether (18% vs. 13%).

Regional differences were also apparent - North East dwellers are the most ill prepared about their living arrangements in old age, with three quarters (75%) who admit they have never considered it. Greater Londoners are the most organised, with just 47% unprepared for the future.

Russell Donnelly, director of Dunwood Court says: "Retired people are very clear that they would prefer to stay in their own home as they get older. However they are not planning ahead and thinking about what steps they need to take to ensure this is possible when they face mobility and health issues. If older people want to live in their own home and retain their independence for as long as possible, they need to make sure they think about their options so that they are the person taking control the decision."

(i) There are 11,561,500 people of retirement age in the UK according to ONS

(ii) 11% of the total number of people of retirement age in the UK

About the research

The Independence Report was carried out for Dunwood Court by Consumer Analysis Limited. The sample for the survey includes 503 retired people aged 60 and over from England and Wales. In lengthy telephone and face to face interviews interviewees were asked what independence means to them and their requirements for their living arrangements in later life. The fieldwork was carried out during June 2009.

For a copy of the full report, please contact Vicky Hodson - vhodson@golleyslater.co.uk.

About Dunwood Court

Dunwood Court is a retirement development of 22 apartments and cottages built on 25acres of landscaped gardens and paddocks in Romsey, Hampshire. Dunwood Court, which opened in February 2008, is built around the 'closed care' concept which is relatively new in the UK (less than 10 similar developments). It involves the residential apartments being in the grounds of a nursing home - allowing residents to retain their independence and remain living with their partners for as long as possible. For more information, visit www.dunwoodcourt.co.uk.

Contact Information

  • For further information and interview requests
    please contact:
    Golley Slater PR
    Vicky Hodson
    020 7255 6451 / 07740 827255