2.8m pensioner homes need to be safety-proofed
Seven in 10 homeowners over the age of 65 would like to stay put in their existing home, but only 34% believe their property meets the safety requirements required.
Research carried out by the Equity Release Council has revealed that 2.8m people are living in homes which need investment to make them safe and practical for later life.
It found that 19% have delayed making important changes or carrying out repairs to their home because of a lack of funds, while 14% who need work done say they cannot afford to spend anything and will have to make do without.
The staircase or landing presents the biggest threat: 38% believe this will be the most difficult part of their home to use as they grow older, followed by their garden (22%), bathroom (15%) and bedroom (12%). Outdoor lights are the most commonly needed adaptation to ensure over-65s’ homes are practical and safe to live in.
Three quarters (76%) see this as a necessary feature, with 20% of those living in a home that still needs this work carrying out More than two in three over-65s (69%) already have or anticipate a need for a downstairs toilet, compared with 50% for a downstairs shower and 43% for an adapted bath, electric bath lift or fitted shower seat.
Nigel Waterson, chairman of the Equity Release Council, said:
“These findings show just how important people feel it is for them to be able to remain in their current homes throughout their retirement. Living on in familiar surroundings is clearly the majority choice, which sooner or later means tackling the practical challenge of managing their physical comfort and safety as they grow older.
“The ambition to retire in the comfort of their existing home often brings a need for adaptations to safety-proof their surroundings. Investing carefully with this in mind can extend the period of time where someone can live practically and comfortably at home before they need to consider options such as residential care.
“With many over-65s asset rich and cash poor, it is a logical step to consider releasing some of their housing equity to prolong the pleasure they take from spending their retirement years in the place they call home.”