Wales has an increasing and increasingly diverse ageing population. This presents a challenge for Welsh housing.
The majority of people over 65 in Wales are home owners – the likelihood of moving in later life decreases as we age, and is primarily in response to changing needs for support, or unanticipated events such as loss of a partner or the onset of illness.
Currently, housing options in Wales range from general needs housing with or without some degree of support (adaptations, telecare, floating support) to sheltered housing, extra care housing and nursing and residential care homes, with some limited development in co-operative and co-housing models.
A rapidly ageing population represents an excellent opportunity for those involved in the property development sector to develop innovative living environment models, incorporating “age sustainable”, “lifetime” and “smart” design features. However, the barriers that developers and commissioners face to the expansion of retirement housing are a limiting factor. Given the strong link between better housing and better health, it is important to consider how planning regulations and charges for residential stock could influence supply gaps in the future.