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Since our last update, we have published two new reports, one on the international perspectives for stimulating the UK Housing-with-care sector and the other on the Commission on Dementia and Music.

We hosted three high profile events, report launches and the launch of the new "Innovating for Ageing" programme and featured in national and international print and broadcast media.

We are pleased to announce that Ben Franklin was promoted to Assistant Director of Research & Policy at International Longevity Centre - UK.


Select Committee acts on ILC-UK evidence

Following its inquiry into housing for older people, the Communities and Local Government Select Committee has published its report into the topic which supports a number of recommendations made by ILC-UK Senior Research Fellow Dr Brian Beach.

Dr Beach submitted written evidence to the inquiry and was subsequently invited to provide oral evidence. The report highlights points made in ILC-UK’s recently published report ‘Stronger Foundations’ which calls for greater clarity around specialist housing terminology, and a legislative framework for extra care housing.


ILC-UK and Just launch Innovating for Ageing

On Tuesday, 16th January ILC-UK and Just launched the Innovating for Ageing programme at the Innovation Warehouse in London’s Bishopsgate.

The innovating for Ageing programme seeks to identify and support the development of products and services that will address the challenges faced by ageing consumers at risk of vulnerability due to physical disability, serious illness, dementia or financial exclusion.
The programme will bring together experts, innovators and groups who work to support vulnerable consumers. Applications will shortly be open for innovators to share their product and service before an expert panel of judges will shortlist applicants. The programme’s finalists will then be invited to the final judging and award ceremony, where awards will be presented to innovators whose efforts can help to improve the lives of vulnerable consumers.

For more information on Innovating for Ageing, visit

Recent ILC-UK Publications

Stronger Foundations: International Lessons for the Housing-with-Care Sector in the UK

This report, supported by ARCO discusses the issue of terminology around later life housing and housing-with-care in the UK and other international contexts.


What would life be - without a song or dance, what are we?

This new report summarises the work of the Commission on Dementia and Music, set-up and coordinated by ILC-UK, with support from The Utley Foundation.


ILC-UK Events

Launch event: The Impact of Deprivation on Demographic Inequalities in Adults

Wednesday, 28th March 2018; 09:15 (for 09:45) - 11:45

Southbank, London

This event will see the launch of 'The Impact of Deprivation on Demographic Inequalities in Adults’, a new report published by ILC-UK and Cass Business School.

During the event, report co-author Professor Les Mayhew Professor of Statistics, Cass Business School, will present on the emerging patterns of inequalities and life expectancy and discuss their wider implications for social and economic policy.

Attendance at this event is currently by invitation only. If you would like to express your interest in attending, please email

ILC-UK Blogs

Since our last update, ILC-UK has published a number of blogs from various contributors covering subjects from high risk retirees to new ideas in health and social care.

Nick Saunderson, CEO at Audrey Group wrote that the perception that social care and health care are two separate entities has caused challenges and prevented any real resolution to the strain on the NHS.

Dean Hochlaf, our ILC-UK Assistant Economist explores recent trends in the demand for healthcare and the supply of the nurses, before reflecting on how government policy changes are impacting on the ability of the nursing sector to meet rising needs.

ILC-UK Director, David Sinclair covered the story on how the flu vaccination coverage is falling across Europe, and how the flu outbreak is is adding to pressures on the NHS this winter.

Nathan Long, Senior Pension Analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, asks are we a nation of risk-taking retirees?

If you would like to contribute an article to our guest blog, please contact Dave Eaton at

Partners Programme

Membership of our Partners Programme is open to companies and not for profit organisations. Benefits of membership include: a discount on research, guaranteed spaces at events, your logo on 3 events and 3 reports per year, and advanced copies of ILC-UK research. We also provide information and advice consultancy services to our Partners and organise exclusive events.

Partners are exposed to the latest available research and data in the UK, EU and the rest of the world. Partners are helped to understand and plan for changing societal trends and given opportunities to participate in cutting-edge debates to help them remain ahead of policy curves.

The current ILC-UK Partners are: Anchor, Audley, Aviva, Centre for Ageing Better, Edinburgh Napier University, EY, FirstPort, Housing&Care 21, Hymans Robertson LLP, Legal & General, Newcastle University Institute for Ageing and Prudential.
For more information, see the Partners Programme brochure or contact David Sinclair,

Working with ILC-UK


Research and events produced by ILC-UK are made possible by funding from various sources. If you are interested in commissioning ILC-UK research or supporting an ILC-UK event, please contact David Sinclair,


If you would like to receive ILC-UK press releases, please email and we will add you to our press release list.

The Communities and Local Government Committee has today released their report on Housing for Older People following their enquiry into the topic. ILC-UK welcomes the conclusions and recommendations included in the report, along with the Committee’s calls for a national strategy for older people’s housing.

We are also extremely pleased to see our own contributions to the enquiry feature in the report. Along with our written submission of evidence drawing on our research in this area, Dr Brian Beach, Senior Research Fellow, gave oral evidence to the committee. In particular, we are glad the committee’s report highlighted the following:

  • Drawing on the work in our recently published report, Stronger Foundations, Brian highlighted how part of the challenge around specialist housing was in the vast array of terms used to describe the diverse options available. This creates a confusing market space for older people. The Committee states, “The Government should instigate discussions between developers and providers of specialist housing with the aim of agreeing on a consistent terminology to describe the housing and related services on offer.” (p. 39, ¶84)
  • Our research also noted how international models – in New Zealand, in particular – include regulation that provides robust consumer protection. The legislation for this provides the basis to help older people understand what the housing offer is and what the costs will entail (particularly with respect to ‘event fees’, which are paid at the end of a residency). Brian’s evidence contributed to the Committee stating, “We therefore recommend that the Government should accept the Law Commission’s recommendations on event fees and give legislative backing to its proposed code of practice. In addition, consideration should be given to introducing a legislative framework for extra care housing (as has been introduced in New Zealand) to bring together regulations relating to the provision of housing, care, and other support services.” (p. 45, ¶101)

Housing in the UK continues to experience a crisis, and there are certain ways it could be improved by addressing the needs of people later in life. With current housing policy imbalanced to the benefit of (albeit only some) younger adults – such as the emphasis on first-time buyers – we are optimistic that the Committee’s recommendations may help stimulate movement in this direction. Indeed, we strongly endorse further work by government to reconsider how later life housing is classified for planning purposes, as this appears to be an impediment to the delivery of homes (p. 56, ¶126).

The report’s overarching conclusion – to establish a national strategy on housing provision for older people – is also a welcomed call, as this is an important first step to seeing tangible action on the ground and real movement to address the issues that continue to stifle the development of later life housing at the scale that is needed. However, such a strategy should also be held to account, so that it delivers in a meaningful and comprehensive way. Many of the issues raised in the Committee’s enquiry – such as health and social care – face their own challenges in different areas and departments. It will be important that efforts to progress in later life housing under such a strategy do not fall short on themselves because of poor coordination in other areas of priority.

The Committee's report, 'Housing for Older People' can be accessed on the Parliamentary website at

Dr Brian Beach's latest report on international lessons for the Housing-with-Care sector in the UK, 'Stronger Foundations', can be downloaded from

From all of us at ILC-UK, thank you for all of your support over the past year.

Without the ongoing commitment of stakeholders from Government, business, academia and civil society we would be unable to conduct research, advise policy makers and inform the media about rapid population ageing and demographic change.

We are already planning a series of reports and events for 2018, and we look forward to contuining to work with you to ensure that the UK is ready for the future of ageing.

Thank you for attending the 2017 Future of Ageing Conference

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2017 Future of Ageing Conference.

Over 250 delegates joined more than 40 speakers and contributors for a day of debates in plenary sessions and discussions in break-out groups.

The #FutureofAgeing trended on Twitter twice throughout the course of the day, making it one of the top ten issues mentioned on Wednesday, 29th November. Presentation slides from those who delivered Powerpoint presentations on the day are now available on our website.

Recent ILC-UK Publication

Inequalities in later life

Commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better, this scoping review provides an overview of the current literature on inequalities in later life.

Exploring retirement transitions

This research report from ILC-UK and the Uncertain Futures research consortium examines extended working lives, the life course and retirement transitions.

Working for everyone

This report by ILC-UK and the renEWL research consortium features research on how working conditions, health and caring responsiblities affect workforce participation.

Public Health in Europe During the Austerity Years

This major report, supported by Pfizer, explores the relationship between austerity policies and public health across Europe.

When I'm 64 - The ILC-UK factpack on retirement transitions

ILC-UK's 2017 factpack, supported by FirstPort, explores retirement transitions and compares the experiences of today's 64 year olds with earlier generations.

ILC-UK Events

Time to Innovate for Ageing - Launch Reception

Tuesday, 16th January 2018; 17:00 - 19:00
Innovation Warehouse, 1st Floor, 1E Poultry Avenue,
Clerkenwell, London EC1A 9PT

This reception will celebrate the launch of a new, year-long programme (Innovating for Ageing) which seeks to identify and support the creation of new products and services to help improve the lives of vulnerable consumers. The best innovations will be recognised later in 2018 at an ILC-UK Awards ceremony.

This event is currently fully booked, but is operating a waiting list.

Click here to register for the waiting list.

Commission on Dementia and Music: Evening reception report launch

Thursday, 18th January 2018; 18:30 (for 19:00) - 20:30; House of Lords, Palace of Westminster, London SW1A 0PW

In July 2017, ILC-UK launched the world's first high level Commission on Dementia and Music to investigate the current and potential role of music to help in the prevention, management, treatment and care of dementia.

This launch will see Parliamentarians, celebrities and people with dementia gather for the launch of the Commission's final report.

Attendance at this event is by invitation only.

Report launch, panel discussion and drinks reception on international perspectives for stimulating the UK Housing-with-Care sector

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, Central London

ILC-UK will be holding a report launch, panel discussion and drinks reception on international perspectives for simulating the UK Housing-with-Care sector, kindly supported by the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO), on Tuesday 30th January 2018 in London.

During the event, those in attendance will hear from report author and ILC-UK Senior Research Fellow Dr Brian Beach, who will highlight a number of recommendations that could help development of this sector.

This event is currently an invitation only event. If you are interested in attending, please contact ILC-UK at

ILC-UK Blogs

Since our last update, ILC-UK has published a number of blogs from international contributors as part of our Future of Ageing series, as well as ILC-UK blogs on retirement housing and addressing language barriers in healthcare.

Liad Ortar, Head of the CSR wrote on 'CSR towards the elders: stop talking, start doing!' which examined the potential for corporate social responsibility initiatives to help better cater for older consumers. The Extend research consortium (University of Sheffield; Institute for Work and Technology; TU Dortmund University;University of Cologne) wrote on 'Social inequalities in extending working lives - The case of the health and care sector', which introduced their work in this area.

Astrid Davies, Director of Astrid Davies Consulting wrote about the need to up-skill and retain older workers to ensure sustainable workforces, and implicit ageism in her blog 'Teaching old dogs new tricks?'.

Lieutenant Mark Scoulding wrote about the Salvation Army's views, and their work on adult social care in 'Equal dignity for all? The future of adult social care'. Finally, Rochelle Amour, a consultant at Age Caribbean wrote on 'Can we automate care? Developing countries may not have a choice' featuring case studies from Trinidad and Tobago.

Beyond the Future of Ageing series, ILC-UK Director David Sinclair wrote about what older people actually want from retirement housing, and what needs to be done to make the sector more attractive, and Research and Policy Assistant Amna Riaz wrote on addressing language barriers in healthcare in the UK.

If you would like to contribute an article to our guest blog, please contact Dave Eaton at

Partners Programme

Membership of our Partners Programme is open to companies and not for profit organisations. Benefits of membership include: a discount on research, guaranteed spaces at events, your logo on 3 events and 3 reports per year, and advanced copies of ILC-UK research. We also provide information and advice consultancy services to our Partners and organise exclusive events.

Partners are exposed to the latest available research and data in the UK, EU and the rest of the world. Partners are helped to understand and plan for changing societal trends and given opportunities to participate in cutting-edge debates to help them remain ahead of policy curves.

The current ILC-UK Partners are: Anchor, Audley, Aviva, Centre for Ageing Better, Edinburgh Napier University, EY, FirstPort, Housing&Care 21, Hymans Robertson LLP, Legal & General, Newcastle University Institute for Ageing and Prudential.

For more information, see the Partners Programme brochure or contact David Sinclair,

Working with ILC-UK


Research and events produced by ILC-UK are made possible by funding from various sources. If you are interested in commissioning ILC-UK research or supporting an ILC-UK event, please contact David Sinclair,

If you would like to receive ILC-UK press releases, please email and we will add you to our press release list.

Press Release

Embargoed Friday 24th November 2017 00.01

Older people spending more time in ill health as health inequalities increase

Older people are spending an increasing number of retirement years living in poor health, according to new research from the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK). Inequalities in life expectancy by local authority have been increasing whilst the growth in pensioner income has been stalling.

The new findings have been revealed in ILC-UK’s annual flagship “State of the Nation” Factpack (“When I’m 64”) which has been supported by FirstPort.

The Factpack also finds that whilst the age at which older people retire has been increasing, relatively few older people work beyond State Pension Age. Older workers contribute towards a considerable amount of the UK economy’s gig economy work. And the over 50s account for more than a quarter of all zero hours work.

“When I’m 64” finds that life for 64-year old’s today is very different than 45 years ago with today’s 64-year-olds more likely to be homeowner, have a degree – but also more likely to have a chronic illness than those in 1972.

Life expectancy growing – but so is poor health and inequalities

  • Between 2000 and 2014, the gap between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at the age of 65 rose from 6.4 years to 8.1 years for men, and from 8.2 years to 9.6 years for women
  • Inequalities in at 65 life expectancy by local authority have been rising, particularly for women. These inequalities are strongly related to local differences in health and disability, education, skills and training and employment
  • The average healthy life expectancy for those at 65 in the ten-worst performing English local authorities is 7.4 years. By contrast, the ten best performing local authorities have an average healthy life expectancy that is almost twice as long at 13.6 years
  • Tower Hamlets is the worst performing local authority with only 6.5 years of healthy life expectancy at 65, while Richmond upon Thames is the best performing local authority with 14.5 additional years of good health expected

A growing army of older workers, but still a retirement cliff-edge

  • 3.7 million people aged 50+ work in health and social work, education and wholesale and retail representing between 27% and 35% of their respective sectors
  • But agriculture is most heavily reliant on older workers, with almost half of the workforce (47.5%) over the age of 50
  • In 2016, economic activity rates for men aged 65 to 69 were 25.5%, while among women they were16.9%
  • The proportion of people in the labour force between 65 and 69 who were self-employed was 35.1% in 2017
  • The over 50s account for more than a quarter of all zero hours work

Life for 64-year-olds has changed significantly over the past 45 years. Today’s 64-year-old is much more likely to own their home outright than 64-year old’s in 1972 (69.5% compared with 26.3% in 1972). 17.6% of today’s 64-year old’s have a degree compared with 1.6% in 1972. 64-year old’s today are more likely to have a chronic illness and disability than 64 years old in 1972 (42.1% to 52.3%).

Ben Franklin, Head of Economics at ILC-UK said:

“This year’s factpack focuses on those making the retirement transition. It shows that in some areas, such as life expectancy, we continue to be making gains, but that these gains have not been shared by everyone. Supporting longer, healthier lives must be a critical priority for government and employers.

Only through such an effort will we be able to succeed in a number of key policy areas, such as: raising State Pension Ages and securing a sustainable health and care system.  Moreover, given the tightening of the labour market, and uncertainty over future migration policy, it is more imperative than ever that employers find ways to retain older workers”.

Nigel Howell, Chief Executive of FirstPort, added:

“Through our Retirement Property Services division, FirstPort manages retirement homes that help residents stay active, socially connected, and independent for as long as possible. Increasingly, this also means ‘economically active’ with residents continuing to work well into their sixties and beyond. This new trend can bring real benefits, both for society at large and to the quality of life for the individual.

“The insight that ILC-UK’s research and Factpack provides helps all of us – industry and government – to do better for everyone, and we are very proud to support it.”

When I’m 64 also highlights that:

  • The growth of net pensioner income has stalled in recent years
  • One in five people aged 50-64 are carers
  • Proportion of individuals between the ages of 55-64 renting privately has been steadily increasing
  • Those in their 60s today are most likely to be living in couple households by the time they are in their 80s, and the proportion of households accounted for by women living alone is expected to fall from 30% to 15%. But this still means around 25% of households will consist of individuals living alone
  • In 2015, those households between 65 and 69 spent more on package holidays than other age groups
  • In 2017, 89.9% of men and 90% of women aged between 55 and 64 had used the internet in the last 3 months

Contact: David Sinclair ( or David Eaton (
Tel: 02073400440


Full references are available in When I’m 64: The ILC-UK Factpack on Retirement Transitions. The report will be published on the ILC-UK website on 22nd November.

Advanced copies of the Factpack are available from ILC-UK.

The report will be presented at ILC-UK’s annual Factpack Pub Quiz to take place in London on the evening of 22nd November.

About ILC-UK:

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.
We ask difficult questions and present new solutions to the challenges and opportunities of ageing. We undertake research and policy analysis and create a forum for debate and action.

About FirstPort:

FirstPort is the largest residential property management company in the UK.

This year's Future of Ageing Conference will play host to 10 different panel debates covering everything from automating care, ageism, innovation in housing and the end of life.

Eventbrite - The Future of Ageing Conference 2017:  Transforming Tomorrow Today

Confirmed workshops and confirmed speakers include:

Opening Keynote: Dr Pol Vandenbroucke, Vice President Medical Strategy, Pfizer

How can we maximise the economic contribution of older people?

  • Diane Kenwood, Editor, Woman's Weekly and ILC-UK Trustee
  • John McTernan, Senior Vice President, PSB and Former Political Secretary to Prime Minister Tony Blair
  • Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive, Anchor
  • Professor Debora Price, President, British Society of Gerontology and Director, MICRA
  • Professor Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics, London Business School

Is the Future less or more ageist?

  • Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, Fawcett Society
  • Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Member of Parliament for Barking, discussing 'How to stop wasting women's talents: overcoming our fixation with youth'
  • Yasmin Boudiaf, Virtual Reality Expert, discussing 'Can we use Virtual Reality to tackle ageism?'
  • Tessa Harding, Ex-NCVO and Help the Aged

Can technology drive innovation in pensions, health and care?

  • Alison Martin, Global Head of Life and Health, Swiss Re
  • Other speakers to be confirmed

Is antimicrobial resistance a threat to longevity - and what can we do about it? 

  • Mark Chataway, Managing Director, Hyderus
  • Professor Anthony Scott, Director, The Vaccine Centre, LSHTM
  • Professor Alan Johnson, Head of AMR, Public Health England's Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control

How can we save the NHS?

  • Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Chair, NHS Confederation and former Health Secretary
  • Dr David Oliver, Clinical Vice President, Royal College of Physicians
  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Pamela Spence, Partner, Global Life Sciences Industry Leader, EY

More inequalities in a world of austerity? 

  • Anna Dixon, Chief Executive, Centre for Ageing Better
  • Inequalities in Life Expectancy: Andrew Gaches, Head of Longevity, Life and Financial Services, Hymans Robertson
  • Inequalities in Old Age: Professor Thomas Scharf, Professor of Social Gerontology, Newcastle University
  • Austerity and Health Across Europe: Ben Franklin, Head of Economics of Ageing, International Longevity Centre - UK

Filling the skills gap: Migration, more older workers, or both?

  • Yvonne Sonsino, Partner and Innovation Leader, Mercer and Co-Chair DWP Fuller Working Lives Business Strategy Group
  • Professor Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, King's College London
  • Dean Hochlaf, Assistant Economist, International Longevity Centre - UK

Can we automate care?

  • George Holley-Moore, Research and Policy Manager, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Eric Kihlstrom, Co-Founder, KareInn
  • Pamela Spence, Partner, Global Life Sciences Industry Leader, EY

How can the housing industry innovate for tomorrow's older consumers?

  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Nigel Howell, Chief Executive, FirstPort
  • Gary Day, Land and Planning Director, McCarthy and Stone
  • Lord Best, Co-Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People

The future of the end: Living forever or dying in style?

  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Professor Douglas Davies FBA, Professor of the Study of Religion, Durham University, and Director of the Centre for Death and Life Studies
  • Louise Winter, Founder, Poetic Endings
  • Dave Eaton, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, International Longevity Centre - UK

Closing Keynote: Professor Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics, London Business School and author of 'The 100 year life'.

Eventbrite - The Future of Ageing Conference 2017:  Transforming Tomorrow Today

There will also be a number of keynote presentations, and an open slot to allow one delegate to present their idea to help society prepare for the future of ageing.

Join us at #FutureofAgeing
For more information click here:

Future of Ageing 2017: Sponsored by:

Supported by:

Press Release

For Immediate Release: 07 February 2017

Leading think tank urges retirement housing revolution to fix the housing crisis

Research finds that although 9 in 10 65-79 year olds live in under occupied houses, there could be a retirement housing gap of 160,000 houses by 2030 if Government fails to focus on last time buyers

Responding to Housing Minister Gavin Barwell’s suggestion that making it easier for older people to downsize could help solve the housing crisis, the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) has urged Government to ensure thousands of new retirement properties are built as a matter of urgency.

ILC-UK Chief Executive Baroness Sally Greengross has also called on the Government to introduce a duty on Local Authorities to assess the needs of their older populations when making housing plans, and ensure that these needs are met before plans are put in place.

Research conducted by the ILC-UK has found:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 of the 65-79 age group live in under-occupied housing – over 50% live in homes with two or more excess bedrooms.
  • There are around 515,000 specialist retirement and extra care homes in England. However, this means that there is only enough specialist housing to accommodate 5% of the over-65 population.
  • According to ILC-UK calculations, there could be a retirement housing gap of 160,000 retirement housing by 2030 if current trends continue. By 2050, the gap could grow to 376,000.

The ILC-UK also found that those in retirement housing are significantly more likely to be living in homes with adaptations than those who do not. Approximately 87% of those in retirement housing have home adaptations, by comparison to around 60% in other types of housing.

Therefore, as well as freeing up a range of properties throughout the housing market, downsizing in later life could help to ensure more people can stay in their homes for longer, reducing pressure on the residential care sector.

Surveys conducted by the ILC-UK have also found that there are several reasons why older people do not downsize. One is a supply problem; the lack of suitable housing on the market. Another is financial considerations in terms of moving; stamp duty can be a major barrier.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive, ILC-UK said:

'The Housing Minister is right to recognise that meeting the needs of last time buyers and encouraging downsizing is crucial to addressing the housing crisis. Downsizing can also ensure that older people live in properties that allow them to stay in their own homes for longer, and can release equity that can be used to fund social care in later live.

However, unless Government acts to encourage local authorities and developers to meet the needs of last time buyers, there could be a retirement housing gap of 160,000 retirement homes by 2030. If current trends continue, the gap could grow to 376,000 homes by 2050.

Local Authorities must have a duty to assess the needs of their older population when making housing plans, and ensure that these needs are met before plans are put in place.

Government should also consider what changes can be made to Stamp Duty to remove the perceived financial barrier of downsizing'.


Dave Eaton at ILC-UK 02073400440 or 07531 164 886

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

Much of our work is directed at the highest levels of Government and the civil service, both in London and Brussels. We have a reputation as a respected think tank which works, often with key partners, to inform important decision-making processes.

Our policy remit is broad, and covers everything from pensions and financial planning, to health and social care, housing design, and age discrimination. We work primarily with central government, but also actively build relationships with local government, the private sector and relevant professional and academic associations.

Notes to Editors

Full references are available in The State of the Nation’s Housing. To produce The State of the Nation’s Housing, ILC-UK has analysed data available through wave 7 of the The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and data from the English Housing Survey. The report also incorporates analysis of other official data sets including those produced by ONS and Government Departments.

The State of the Nation’s Housing is available to download at

Survey data is available in Generation Stuck: Exploring the reality of downsizing in later life, available to download at

The Rt Hon. Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the NHS Confederation and former Secretary of State for Health and former Chair of the Health Select Committee, and Dwayne Johnson, Director of Adult Social Care, Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council have agreed to join our fantastic list of speakers at the Future of Ageing conference.

Dr Margaret McCartney, GP, author and regular contributor on Radio 4’s Inside Health, will also present at the conference. Dr Islene Araujo de Carvalho of the Department of Ageing and Life Course at the World Health Organisation will also focus on health and care issues, taking a more global perspective.

Conference attendees will also hear from:

  • John Cridland CBE, Head of the Independent State Pension Age Review
  • John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, UK Statistics Authority
  • Professor Sarah Harper, Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
  • Linda Woodall, Director of Life Insurance and Financial Advice, and sponsor of the Ageing Population project, Financial Conduct Authority
  • Jonathan Stevens, Senior Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP
  • David Sinclair, Director, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • The Rt Hon. the Lord Carey of Clifton, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2001

Join as at the Future of Ageing Conference on Wednesday, 9th November. Our Earlybird prices must end on 31st August, so sign up now to take advantage of this special discounted rate.


Since our June update, we have launched five new reports, including a landmark publication on the future of the UK welfare state; a report on the economic benefits of migration; and our annual factpack, which this year focuses on the state on the nation's housing.

We also extended the early bird rate for the 2016 Future of Ageing Conference to Wednesday, 31st August, and held our second national retirement income summit at the Chartered Insurance Institute.

These updates are sent every couple of months. If you would like to keep on top of our latest news, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook or our LinkedIn Group.

ILC-UK hosts the first Ageing Society pub quiz to launch 'The state of the nation's housing: An ILC-UK Factpack'

On Monday, 18th July ILC-UK hosted the first Ageing Society Pub Quiz to launch 'The state of the nation's housing: An ILC-UK Factpack', supported by FirstPort. Attendees competing across 13 teams tested their knowledge of everything from the issues surrounding an ageing society, to whether the cumulative age of ILC-UK staff was higher or lower than that of the current members of the Rolling Stones.

Thank you to everyone who participated!


ILC-UK Publications

The state of the nation's housing: An ILC-UK Factpack
Despite significant increases in the numbers of older people living alone, half of all older people with care needs haven’t made adaptations to their homes to make them easier to live in. Whilst specialist retirement housing can offer more adaptations and play a part in supporting downsizing, the report also finds that the retirement housing supply gap is set to worsen.

Measuring state effectiveness: an ILC-UK index
This technical report presents a new index for measuring State Effectiveness, and comparative performance analysis of countries across Europe. The report warns that 'silver welfare', the strategy of focusing spending on social protection for old age is the only strategy consistently associated with bad outcomes.

Towards a new age: The future of the UK welfare state
This landmark publication features contributions from more than 20 leading public figures on the reforms necessary to ensure the future of the welfare state. 'Towards a new age' provocatively argues that if governments make policy based purely to get re-elected, the welfare state could become so distorted that it might sow the seeds of its own demise.
A future of the welfare state thinkpiece

Innovate to Alleviate: Exploring how the role of an enhanced care worker could address skills shortages in the social care sector
This report, commissioned by the Department for Health, is the first to examine a newly developed role in the adult social care sector. The first scoping review of its kind, the report is a qualitative investigation compiled from interviews with individuals from all levels of the care home sector.

Immigration: Encourage or deter?
This report demonstrates that migration could boost the UK economy by £625 billion (or 11.4%) by 2064-65. It also finds that migration is likely to support the sustainability of government finances, and that raising the State Pension Age alone will not stabilise the UK's declining dependency ratio.


ILC-UK Events

Housing in an Ageing Society
Wednesday 12th October; 10:00 (for a 10:30 start) - 12:30; Legal & General

On Tuesday, 19th July we launched 'The state of the nation's housing', with the support of FirstPort.

This special half day event on Wednesday, 12th October will feature discussion and debate amongst industry experts and Government on the topic of Housing in an Ageing Society.

Speakers include:

  • Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Newly appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government;
  • Nigel Wilson, Group Chief Executive, Legal & General
  • Dr Brian Beach, Research Fellow, ILC-UK.

This event is fully subscribed, and is operating a waiting list.
Eventbrite - Housing in an Ageing Society

The Second Annual Future of Ageing Conference
Wednesday, 9th November 2016; Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate, London, SW1H 9NH

We are pleased to announce that since our June update a further two new keynote speakers have been confirmed for the Future of Ageing 2016. We have also extended our early bird rates until the end of August 2016.

Current confirmed speakers include:

  • Dr Islene Araujo de Carvalho, Senior Policy and Strategy Adviser, Department of Ageing and Life Course, WHO
  • John Cridland CBE, Head of the Independent State Pension Age Review
  • Jonathan Stevens, Senior Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP
  • John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, UK Statistics Authority
  • The Rt Rev. and the Rt Hon. the Lord Carey of Clifton, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2002
  • Professor Sarah Harper, Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
  • David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK
  • Dr Maragaret McCartney, GP and regular contributor on Radio 4’s Inside Health, and
  • Linda Woodall, Director of Life Insurance and Financial Advice, and sponsor of the Ageing Population project, Financial Conduct Authority

Eventbrite - The Future of Ageing, an ILC-UK Conference

We are grateful to McCarthy & Stone for their sponsorship of this conference.

Further support has kindly been received from:



We have a number of promotional opportunities for organisations wishing to be involved in the 2016 Future of Ageing Conference. For full details, please click here.

We are also happy to work with organisations on bespoke packages. If you would like to discuss sponsorship and the various packages in more detail, please contact Lyndsey Mitchell on


ILC-UK Blogs

Since our June update, we have published ILC-UK analysis on the reform of nursing bursaries and the end of Osbornomics, and a variety of blogs from expert guest authors.

Blogs written by ILC-UK researchers include an assessment of reforms of nursing bursaries, lessons from Asia and the rest of the world on maximising the potential of an ageing population, a summary of the Drink Wise, Age Well Inquiry and the end of Osbornomics.

Our guest blogs have included articles on getting young people saving (Michelle McGagh, freelance journalist); on why declining dopamine may explain why older people take fewer risks (Dr Robb Rutledge, Senior Research Associate, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL); and insights into the motivations of young and old voters in the EU referendum (Dr Stuart Fox, Quantitative Research Associate, Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods).

We have also published guest blogs on combating ageism, fear and loathing in Brexit Britain (Jilly Forster, Founder, Forster Communications) and the difficult conversations people avoid as they get older (Claire Turner, Interim Director of Evidence, Centre for Ageing Better)

We also regularly publish our Friday Five: five key facts about issues related to ageing.

To read these and all our blogs, please click here.


Partners Programme

Membership of our Partners Programme is open to companies and not for profit organisations. Benefits of membership include: a discount on research, guaranteed spaces at events, your logo on 3 events and 3 reports per year, and advanced copies of ILC-UK research. We also provide information and advice consultancy services to our Partners and organise exclusive events.

Partners are exposed to the latest available research and data in the UK, EU and the rest of the world. Partners are helped to understand and plan for changing societal trends and given opportunities to participate in cutting-edge debates to help them remain ahead of policy curves.

The current ILC-UK Partners are: Anchor, Audley, Aviva, Centre for Ageing Better, Equiniti, EY, FirstPort, Hymans Robertson LLP, Legal & General, Newcastle University Institute for Ageing, Partnership and Prudential.

For more information, see the Partners Programme brochure or contact David Sinclair,


Working with ILC-UK

Research and events produced by ILC-UK are made possible by funding from various sources. If you are interested in commissioning ILC-UK research or supporting an ILC-UK event, please contact David Sinclair,

If you would like to receive ILC-UK press releases, please email and we will add you to our press release list.

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is organising its first major all day conference on The Future of Ageing, on Tuesday 24th November 2015 in London.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Baroness Altmann (Minister or Pensions);
  • Professor Sir Mark Walport (Government Chief Scientific Adviser [GCSA] and Head of the Government Office for Science);
  • David Willetts (Executive Chair at Resolution Foundation, and former Minister of State [Department for Business, Innovation and Skills]);
  • Lord Filkin (Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better and Chair of the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change);
  • Paul Johnson (Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies);
  • Steve Groves (Chief Executive Officer at Partnership);
  • Professor Jane Elliott (Chief Executive, Economic and Social Research Council);
  • Steven Baxter (Partner, Hymans Robertson); and
  • Professor Ian Philp (Deputy Medical Director for Older People’s Care, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust) will be speaking at the conference.

The conference will be chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross (Chief Executive, ILC-UK) and Lawrence Churchill (Trustee, ILC-UK).

ILC-UK are grateful to McCarthy & Stone and Partnership for their sponsorship of this conference.

Bookings can be made through the ILC-UK website.

- New report points to link between ‘extra care housing’ and reduced loneliness levels
- Research also finds that those in ‘extra care housing’ feel a high degree of control over their lives

A new report from the ILC-UK has found that residential housing with flexible care provision (extra care) can have a major impact in promoting residents’ quality of life and reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

The report, funded by Audley Retirement and Bupa, surveyed residents of retirement villages on quality of life and used a statistical technique to compare the results with a group living in the community. This striking research revealed that village living can promote greater independence and provide greater choice in planning for later life than would otherwise be available. The research shows that the communal environment has the potential to reduce social isolation, particularly for residents who move from more rural or remote homes.

The average person in a retirement village experiences half the amount of loneliness (12.17%) than those in the community (22.83%). Nearly two thirds of respondents living in retirement villages (64.2%) could be classified as not at all lonely, and over four out of five (81.7%) said they hardly ever or never felt isolated. Over half (54.7%) often felt in tune with those around them, and nearly four in five (79.1%) hardly ever or never felt left out.

People living in this type of accommodation also reported a strong sense of control over their daily lives, nearly 10% higher than those living in the community. Control is a crucial component of quality of life measurement . They also felt secure in their homes, with 97% of respondents agreeing that they felt safe where they lived. Both of these findings were assessed using recognised quality of life measures . 

The UK is faced with an ageing population which, the ILC-UK warns, is going to become increasingly difficult to support. It is projected that in 20 years’ time, the number of people aged 85 and over will be almost two and a half times larger than in 2010 . As well as having an emotional impact, loneliness can also present physical health implications; research has shown that loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline in older adults , and even present people with a 64% greater risk of dementia . There are currently 800,000 people in England who are chronically lonely  which, if left to increase in line with the population, could create a large burden on the NHS.

The research calls on the government to:

  • Identify ways of working with the private sector to stimulate the building of new good quality retirement housing.
  • Encourage people in early older age to consider making such a move.
  • In light of the new pensions freedoms, consider offering information and advice on such housing opportunities to people who make enquiries into how to manage their retirement finances.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK commented: “This research helps confirm that good housing is good for us. Communal living commonly found in extra care and retirement villages seems to positive impact on loneliness, with very few respondents to our research saying they felt a high degree of loneliness or isolation. New and innovative models for providing social care are crucial to address rising costs for care in an aging society. But we simply aren’t building enough aspirational housing for old age. Government must ensure that planning supports the development and promotion of alternative models of housing with care.”

Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley Retirement Villages commented: “We have long known that retirement villages offering extra care have a positive impact on those living in them. No one wants to be in a care home, and very few should need to go down that route. The ILC report corroborates our belief that the quality of life in extra care accommodation far exceeds what is possible in a care home.

“Extra care housing offers people the opportunity to live in a community of like-minded individuals, whilst remaining in their own home and retaining their independence. We were particularly pleased to see the ILC report reveal that residents feel a greater sense of control, and importantly a sense of community. Living in the right accommodation, with flexible care give our owners the opportunity to live their lives as they choose, on their own terms.

“We are faced with a growing older population, and this generation are more ambitious and active than ever. It’s crucial that there is a better supply of good quality housing that meets their changing needs. Extra care is a seemingly simple concept, but government, business and society urgently needs to accelerate the provision of alternatives to current solutions; alternatives like extra care housing that can help give older people what they need and want, as well as help the NHS avoid a care crisis.”

Paddy Brice, Managing Director, of Richmond Care Villages, which is part of Bupa, said:
“The report reflects our knowledge that retirement villages are a great way for people to maintain their independence and enjoy an active social life, with the confidence that support is on hand if needed.

“Our villagers frequently tell us they wish they’d made the move earlier. We are currently building two new villages as part of Bupa’s investment in new products and services for older people.  Care villages are clearly meeting a big demand for this style of living as the apartments are being snapped up before we have even finished building them.”

Ready for Ageing Alliance challenge the “myth of the baby boomer”

A new report by the Ready for Ageing Alliance seeks to bust the widely touted myth that there is a uniform group of older people in the UK – so called baby boomers – who have benefitted at the expense of younger age groups.

The report by the Ready For Ageing Alliance - a group of major national charities interested in our ageing society - presents compelling evidence that baby boomers (in this report defined as between the ages of 55-70) are in fact a diverse group of people in virtually every aspect of their lives. The report argues that in reality, one of the few things this group shares is chronological age. The Ready for Ageing Alliance argue that the term “baby boomer” has become an overused and potentially dangerous shorthand to inaccurately describe everybody in a single age group.

Evidence revealed in the report includes:

  • Whilst many boomers have benefitted from house price inflation, just under half of those aged 55-64 in England fully own their property and 24% are still renting.
  • Whilst some boomers can expect to live a long time in good health, men in the most deprived parts of the England can expect to live to 52.2 year in good health compared with 70.5 in the least deprived areas. 6.7 million people aged 45-64 have a long standing illness or a disability.
  • Whilst some boomers benefitted from free education, under one in five of those aged 55-64 in the UK have a degree.
  • Whilst some boomers will retire with good pension provision, almost three in ten of 55-64 year olds in Great Britain do not have any pension savings (nearly 2 million people).

David Sinclair, spokesperson for the Ready for Ageing Alliance said:

“The term baby boomer seems to be increasingly used to inflame divisions and resentment between younger and older generations.

The report highlights that whilst some boomers are ageing successfully, there is huge diversity in income, wealth and experiences of those aged 55-70.

Our ageing society will impact on both young and older people. Today’s younger people are tomorrows older.

If we are to ensure our increasingly ageing society is prosperous for all future generations, we must find ways of bring older and younger together rather than pitch them against each other.”


The ILC-UK today urges mortgage providers to better understand, and respond to, the increasing numbers of retirees taking loans into retirement. 

Speaking at a conference organised by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the ILC-UK Director, David Sinclair urged the industry to ensure they do not discriminate on basis of age alone. Sinclair also urged older people to think very carefully before looking to “buy to let” to give them a return on their pension savings.

Sinclair welcomed the work being done by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) on this topic and urged the industry body to continue to work with providers to ensure they are better equipped to respond to the challenges of demographic change.

Since 2010, both the number and percentage of mortgages extending into retirement has increased(1).

The ILC-UK presentation draws on five years of research into secured and unsecured debt published by the charity. It has been made available on the ILC-UK website (4).

In late 2013, ILC-UK published a report by the Personal Finance Research Centre on the mortgage debt of older households and the effect of age.

The report found (3):

  • One in five of all households (21 per cent) headed by someone aged 50 or over had outstanding mortgage borrowing on their main home in 2008-10. One in ten older households (65+) had outstanding mortgage borrowing on their main residence. 65-69 year old households with mortgage debt still owed on average £55,200.
  • 13 per cent of all older mortgaged households were struggling to repay their mortgage.
  • More than one third of those aged over 70 with outstanding borrowing had an unlinked interest only mortgage

ILC-UK research in 2014 revealed that the average housing wealth of retirees is £122,000 or £1.4tn in total (2).

While lending criteria has been tightened across the board as a consequence of first the credit crunch and then the MMR, ILC-UK argue that this may not fully explain the rising numbers of people who appear to be excluded from the mortgage market purely on the basis of age.

In his presentation, David Sinclair will argue that broader demographic trends, financial insecurity and public policy change is resulting in increasing numbers of us needing to take a mortgage into retirement.

Speaking at the conference, Sinclair urges older people to be aware of the risks of splashing their pension pot on buy to let properties. Sinclair points out that property investments can be risky and they do not guarantee returns.  ILC-UK analysis has shown that in the 1990s it took 50 quarters for inflation adjusted house prices to regain their losses in value. Outside the South East and London, UK house prices in many areas remain below inflation adjusted 2007 levels.

International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) Director, David Sinclair said:

“The industry and the regulatory environment have been seemingly struggling to respond to ageing and demographic change. We are, however, very pleased to see that the industry have begun to respond to these challenges through the important work being led by the CML.

We are living longer, our family structures are changing, we are marrying later and we are working longer.  At the same time, financial insecurity will result in more people needing to borrow more and later in life.

We should be particularly worried about those retirees with interest only mortgages but no linked investment.

Whilst the introduction of “pension freedoms” could be a boon to the buy to let sector, older people should make sure they take advice before making the jump.

With older people holding almost 1.4tn in wealth in their homes, equity release is going to be an attractive way of supplementing a pension for many.

The industry needs to ensure that the income poor asset rich pensioners are well served by this market. That said, the recent growth in the number of people aged 55-64 taking equity release is potentially very worrying.”

In the presentation, David Sinclair urges the industry to lend responsibly but not arbitrarily refuse loans on the basis of age alone. He also calls on the industry and Government to work to address the fear of borrowing faced by many income poor, asset rich customers.

Sinclair urges Government and industry to work together to ensure that individuals have access to advice. He also urges Government to push ahead with housebuilding plans to ensure that older people have more options to move to more appropriate homes. 

2) From ELSA. Mayhew 2014. See
3) The mortgage debt of older households and the effect of age
4) Available via the blog on the ILC-UK website and at

David Sinclair at ILC-UK on 02073400440 or

David Sinclair spoke today at the CML conference on “Pension tension: New thinking on lending into retirement”


Electrical Safety First is urging the Government to put an end to poor quality housing after its report, released today, concludes that one million people aged over 75 currently live in non-decent homes.

The report, A Shock to the System: Electrical Safety in an Ageing Society, reveals that the current housing stock is putting vulnerable people at risk, and is not fit to allow people to age safely in their own homes, with those living in low-income households or in rural areas most affected. A lack of new builds combined with an ageing population means this situation will worsen unless urgent action is taken.

Housing is classed as non-decent if it fails to meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard, and means they are not warm enough, are in a state of disrepair or do not have modern facilities. Poor electrical safety is a particular concern - nearly two thirds of households with a couple over 60 do not meet basic electrical safety standards , which include having such life-saving devices such as a modern fusebox, residual current device, circuit breakers and PVC wiring.

The report reveals serious concerns about the electrical safety of older people. More than 350,000 people are seriously injured by electricity every year and older adults are more likely to be affected - a person over 60 is ten times more likely to die in a fire than someone one aged 17 to 24.

The Charity explains how older people are disproportionately at risk because they are living in their properties for longer, meaning there is a longer time between comprehensive checks and the electrical installations and appliances also tend to be older; 42% of householders who have lived in their property for 30 or more years live in non-decent accommodation .

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, said: “The Government has a duty to ensure that no-one is living in unsafe housing, and yet a million over 75s live in housing deemed non-decent by their own standards. A shortage of new builds means that housing stock will continue to age, electrics will continue to deteriorate and vulnerable people will continue to be put at risk. Most people want to stay in their home as long as possible, but for this to happen we need central and local governments to act and ensure elderly people can maintain their independence by living in safe and decent houses.”

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre, who authored the report on behalf of Electrical Safety First, said: “As our population ages we are witnessing more older people living independently at home. It is therefore vital that every effort should be made to make the home environment as safe as possible.  Our Inquiry found however, that too many older people live in poor housing conditions potentially putting them at risk of electrical harm. At the same time, growing numbers of people with dementia need to be confident that their homes, which should be as hazard-free as possible. We know there are 1 million older people living in non-decent homes; there now needs to be a concerted effort from central government and local authorities to rectify this”.

The report also notes that there are other barriers to older people being electrically safe, which include a fear of letting strangers into their homes to carry out essential maintenance work, the costs of hiring  tradespeople and social isolation – all of which mean hazards may go unnoticed. Dementia can also increase safety risks as memory problems and confusion can mean electrical appliances are used unsafely.

To address these issues, Electrical Safety First has produced a free leaflet which includes tips and advice for anyone concerned about safety in their own home or that of a relative/friend. The Charity also says that a number of safety issues can be identified and addressed through a simple visual check of a home and has produced a free smartphone app to carry out these checks. For more information, to download the booklet or access the app, visit


Growing divorce rates in old age could contribute to increasing isolation and a greater need for formal care, argues the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK).  In a new report, the think tank also warns of the potentially negative health and money repercussions of this trend.

In a new report “the rise and rise of the silver separator”, ILC-UK find:

  • From 1990 to 2012, the number of men and women experiencing divorce aged 60 or above has risen by over 85% and the rate continues to rise;
  • Based on current marriage and divorce rates by age, the total number of people over the age of 60 experiencing divorce will increase from 15,700 in 2012, to over 22,000 by 2037 – a 41% rise;
  • By 2037, almost 1 in every 10 people experiencing divorce will be aged over 60.

“The rise and rise of the silver separator”, has been published today as part of the ILC-UK Population Patterns Seminar Series, with the support of Partnership.

This new analysis suggests that while divorce rates amongst the total population has been declining, it has been increasing among older people. Since 1982, the divorce rate amongst men aged over 60 has risen by 0.6 per 1000 marriages while it has fallen by over 1 per 1000 marriages across the total male married population. Divorce rates for men in their middle to to late 50s has also risen over this time – increasing by more than 3 per 1000 marriages since 1982.

Population change as well as increasing divorce rates has contributed to the rise in divorce and in the report, ILC-UK set out the main driving factors in increasing divorce rates among older people:

  • With people marrying later in life, they are more exposed to the risk of divorce at older ages because their marriage is still relatively fresh.
  • Rising employment amongst women equates to more financial independence as women do not have to rely on their spouse to provide income through work.
  • Given that there is a small chance of divorce during each year of marriage, with people living longer, more marriages are likely to end in divorce and less likely to end in the death of a spouse.
  • Changes in social attitudes towards divorce

Speaking at the launch of the research, Ben Franklin of ILC-UK said:
“A growing number of older people experiencing divorce presents significant challenges at an individual and societal level. Increasing divorce rates and numbers might result in greater isolation, illness and a need for more formal care. Individuals don’t expect to divorce so when it happens, many find themselves in very difficult financial circumstances. At any age it is vital that individuals seek out relationship support. The rising number of divorces amongst the over 60s is something that policymakers, charities and services providers should factor-in when considering the potential vulnerabilities facing older people.”

Richard Willets, Director of Longevity, Partnership added
“While divorce at any age is likely to be a painful experience, the older you are the more likely it is to have a negative impact on your health, wealth and general well-being.  As separation is generally not something that people plan for, they are likely to need the support of their family and friends as well as potentially need more state assistance.  Divorce in later life is therefore something that needs to be more fully understood and factored into Government planning going forward.”

The report was debated at an event in the House of Lords on 18th November 2014.

The Ready for Ageing Alliance today launches its manifesto for action entitled ‘Getting Ready for Ageing’.  The report calls on policymakers in Government and beyond to start engaging seriously with the trend towards longer lives, which is fundamentally changing our country and our world.

The Ready for Ageing Alliance was formed in 2013 following publication of the ‘Filkin report’  and its conclusion that we as a country were nowhere near ready for an ageing population. The aim of members Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Anchor, Carers UK; Centre for Policy on Ageing, the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK), Independent Age and Joseph Rowntree Foundation is to make the case for action to ensure that our society makes the most of our ageing population.

Our demography is changing significantly and quickly: by 2030 there will be 101 per cent more people aged 85 and over in England and 51 per cent more aged 65 and over, compared to 2010. Around one in three of all babies born in 2013 is expected to celebrate their 100th birthday. By the time of the next election, there will be 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. This will rise to over 1 million by 2051

The Ready for Ageing Alliance believes that the growing numbers of people in later life are a cause for real celebration but that we need to do a lot more to respond to both the challenges and the opportunities that longevity brings.

The manifesto sets out detailed recommendations for public policy covering housing; health & social care; the economy and communities and calls for Government to take the lead, with a single point of contact, at Cabinet level, responsible for age and ageing policy.

It also targets some big 'policy own goals' that sees us as a country currently hurtling in the wrong direction in terms of getting ready for ageing. For example, it says we must:

- Stop seeing ageing as being just about older people - if we wait until we are 60 or 70 to prepare we'll have left it too late. That's why the Alliance wants everyone to be sent a pack at 50 giving information and advice.

- End age discrimination – Legislation has gone some way to preventing discrimination on grounds of age but bizarrely financial services are exempt and hidden discrimination remains in many walks of life

- Stop operating hospitals on a model designed for the past – Staff/patient ratios on hospital wards for older patients are often lower than on general wards, yet older people often need more help - e.g. to eat and drink

- Stop undervaluing the over 65s, who currently spend a massive £2.2 billion a week and contribute £61billion to the economy through employment, icaring and volunteering.

- Stop ignoring the fact that many older workers are forced to leave the labour market early.  Start building more flexible work opportunities to make it possible for family members of all ages juggle work and care for older relatives.


Caroline Abrahams, spokesperson for the Ready for Ageing Alliance said:

“Last month we set out how individuals had a responsibility to prepare for ageing. But the responsibility does not lie with individuals alone. Government is failing to recognise and address the long term challenges of ageing. Unless we wake up to the major challenges ahead we run the risk of poorer, more isolated pensioners, greater intergenerational tensions and an economy which is not maximising the potential of the older consumer.

"Our politicians need to 'wake up’ and respond to our ageing population. There are so many opportunities to be had from an ageing society but without action now we will waste them."

"Longer lives are a great gift and Government must lead the way in getting us ready for ageing. There is no senior Ministerial post, dedicated unit or Cabinet Committee in place and never has been under any administration. We fear this reflects disinclination among policymakers to grip the issue and commit to action.

“We are hugely underprepared for an ageing population - the time to act is now.  In the run up to the election we want every political party setting out ambitious plans to prepare for the demographic changes facing the UK. At the very least we need to stop ageing being seen as just being about older people. We are all going to age and we all need to tackle these challenges.”

Contact: Liz Fairweather
Tel :0203 033 1718

Local and national policy-makers are failing to ensure that our communities meet the needs of all ages according to a new report, Community Matters. Making our Communities Ready for Ageing.

Community Matters, published by the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK), with the support of Age UK, incorporates a 10 point call to action for local authorities to become ready for ageing.

The report argues that policy makers must work to ensure that communities do more than cater for our basic needs. It argues that communities should be places of fun for all. The report highlights the importance of supporting walking and cycling in old age as well as need to ensure housing is adaptable to an ageing society.

New analysis published as part of the report reveals that simply to keep up with anticipated population growth between now and 2037, we will need to build houses at the fastest rate since the 1970s.

The report explores the Government's plan for a new Garden City in Ebbsfleet and highlights ideas to make the new community "age friendly". Ideas include the creation of shared facilities for fun and play, and the introduction of Electric 'pods' to transport people around.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said "Our homes are not just places to live and our towns and cities should not just provide for our basic needs. We must have a bold and aspirational vision for communities in an ageing society.  Cities and towns must of course, meet our basic needs. Yet they are failing to do so. We are even failing to provide public toilets. But our aspiration for age friendly cities must be much greater than providing toilets.

Communities can reduce loneliness and isolation but we must make sure that services exist and well intentioned "safeguarding" does not prevent all ages from living, working and playing together. And we need community centres rather than "places to hire".

Good communities start with good housing. As well as building more, we need to build better.

Our society is ageing. Our communities could help us age well but they are simply not ready for ageing. We must build a new ambition vision of the community of the future. An older community, but also hopefully a more fun one.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK says "Our population is ageing and it is essential that communities start to think now about how best to enable older people to get out and about and access essential services.  The alternative is that as we age we are increasingly stuck at home and cut off from the rest of society limiting our ability to enjoy life, to socialise and stay independent for longer. More toilets and seats will be essential for all of us but we should be more ambitious for later life and start building communities that do more than just work for older people but provide greater opportunities for participation”.

Malcolm Dean, who chaired the expert discussions added: "The last century saw major breakthroughs in dealing with the injuries of biological ageing. This new century needs to apply the same energy and commitment to resolving the injuries of social ageing - isolation, loneliness, and exclusion from too many community activities. The report is packed with simple and inexpensive new approaches to making neighbourhoods more 'age friendly'".

The report incorporates an ideas bank of recommendations in order to ensure that our Communities are "Ready for Ageing including:

  • Making our communities fun (swings at bus stops): Local authorities should support provision of desegregated apparatus for fun in outdoor spaces that includes people of all ages
  • Build more homes and ensure they are accessible and adaptable: The Lifetime Homes Standard should be made mandatory and Government should introduce a tax incentivised voucher scheme for housing adaptations.
  • Let us know about our housing options (a "last time movers" guide): Estate agents should be trained to better understand the potential needs of the older consumer and could better promote the Lifetime Homes Standard.
  • Get us walking: Replace the older people crossing road sign with a sign with more positive imagery promoting walking as part of later life. Develop budding services to encourage people to walk to town and services. Maintain pavements.
  • Get us on our bikes: Increasing numbers of cyclists across the life-course should be prioritised as a public health, environmental and social goal by Health and Wellbeing Boards and Local Authorities.
  • Ensure access to green space: Recognise the health benefits of access to green space, and placing some spending on green space under the umbrella of health.
  • Tackle loneliness and isolation: Community centres should protect time for local group activities to maintain the space as community resource (as opposed to a hall for hire). Safeguarding systems should not unnecessarily 'kill kindness' by stopping young and old working, living and playing together.

The Government should create a state-run “Equity Bank” to help low income older people generate extra income from their property argues a new report. “The UK Equity Bank” has been published today by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) and was produced by Professor Les Mayhew and David Smith of Cass Business School, part of City University London.

The authors propose that, after receiving the appropriate financial advice, an individual sells a portion of their home to the state in return for a guaranteed lifetime income. Upon death the property would be sold, the debt to the state paid and any remaining value passed to the person’s estate. The Bank would be carefully targeted at older retirees who own their own homes and live alone but are income poor.

The report points out that housing equity owned by the population aged 65+ is estimated to be worth around £1.4 trillion or, £122,000 per person on average (ELSA). In households with a deceased partner, home equity could be twice this average. Around 40,000 new people each year could benefit from the scheme.

The proposal responds to an influential 2013 House of Lords Committee report which argued that

“The Government should work with the financial services industry to ensure such mechanisms [for releasing housing equity] are available and to improve confidence in them”.

The paper will be launched at an event to be held in the House of Lords on 12th June chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK, the leading international think tank on longevity and demographic change.

The authors argue that the Equity Bank should be owned and maintained by central government. It is important that the financial benefits are not eroded by higher taxes or the withdrawal of benefits and the Government is in the best position to make sure this does not happen. A trusted state-run scheme as described in the paper could also benefit from economies of scale and relatively low borrowing and administration costs. Because it would be carefully targeted, it would sit along-side and not replace existing commercial products.

Launching the paper, Professor Les Mayhew said “The proposed recent pension reforms, whilst welcome, do not address the needs of existing pensioners whose incomes are fixed and therefore unaffected. Its main purpose would be to improve living standards in retirement, as well as making more money available for every day tasks and services such as help around the home, home maintenance, holidays, etc.  The proposal is aimed at a sizeable group of older home owners, perhaps as many as 400,000, who have relatively small incomes of, say, £15,000 per annum or less, consisting mainly of the state pension and limited additional sources."

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK added: “The value stored in people’s homes could be used to provide greater income in old age and improve living standards. Whilst some people will chose to downsize, there is a large group of older people on low incomes for whom moving house would be impractical but for whom a higher income could significantly help improve their day to day life. Traditional equity release schemes may not work for this group of the population and new ideas, like the Equity Bank, deserve serious consideration from Government and the financial services industry.”

Professor Mayhew points out: “Even if only relatively small amounts were to be released each year, the Equity Bank proposal would generate macroeconomic as well as personal benefits to users. It would benefit local economies especially in places with disproportionate numbers of older people and income deprivation. Over time the Equity Bank would be self-financing but it is plausible that start up costs could be met from within existing welfare budgets.”

ILC-UK are currently planning our activities at the 2014 Political Party Conferences. We hope to run a series of events on topics as diverse as pensions, health, employment, care and communities as part of the main party conference fringe programme. If you are interested in talking to us about sponsoring a fringe event, please do get in touch with David Sinclair or Jessica Watson ( / / 0207 340 0440).

We are also planning our 2014-2015 events programme. We organise 30+ events a year, from small discussion events, through to larger conferences. Our events always “sell out”, and often, very quickly. If you are interested in talking to us about sponsoring an event, please get in touch with David Sinclair or Lyndsey Mitchell at ILC-UK ( / 0207 340 0440).

The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change.

Extra Care housing can play a vital role in reducing the isolation and loneliness of older people, but too few people benefit, warns a leading think-tank on ageing and demographic change.

A report by the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK) entitled “What role for extra care housing in a socially isolated landscape?” for the Housing Learning & Improvement Network, has found that older people who move into extra care housing very often find this brings great benefits to their social lives and helps them to develop new friendships.

The report argues that the design of extra care housing plays an important part in helping to develop a community spirit. Extra Care housing is designed so that each resident has their own self-contained home but with communal facilities – restaurants, health centres, hobby rooms – and assisted care all on-site. The degree of independence this offers combined with the communal areas, organised activities and specialist care enables Extra Care housing to create a lively atmosphere that helps foster new relationships and support networks.

The report finds however, that keeping the momentum of innovation, attracting an appropriate mix of residents and ensuring diversity in tenure are significant challenges for the sector.

ILC-UK argues there is a need to demonstrate to policy-makers the huge role that Extra Care housing can play in reducing the isolation and loneliness of older people to ensure that the right levels of funding for such schemes are made available.

Dr. Dylan Kneale, Head of Research at ILC-UK and author of the report, said:
“We know that loneliness is bad for our health and that around one in ten over 65s describes themselves as always or often lonely. Good housing could offer a solution to loneliness and isolation. Because of the ethos, design, activities, and sense of community within many Extra Care housing schemes, they offer potential to tackle isolation and loneliness. Extra Care providers should consider how they can ensure that their mix of residents, services and tenures, best contributes to tackling isolation.”

Jeremy Porteus, Director of the Housing Learning and Improvement Network - the organisation who commissioned the research, said:
"This report makes an important contribution to our understanding of how a move to Extra Care housing can reduce the social isolation and loneliness experienced by older people and help facilitate opportunities for more active community living and participation. The evidence shows that this reaps dividend on the health and wellbeing of residents and helps maintain social networks. We need to build the findings in this very useful report and develop the momentum for enhancing the housing with care choices of older people."

Laura Ferguson, Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said:
“Our home and immediate environment has a massive impact on our ability to age sociably, which in turn can have an impact on our health. We all need support to make informed decisions about housing as we age, ideally backed up with the knowledge that housing is being designed with our physical, mental and emotional health needs in mind. This report makes it clear that those involved in developing housing solutions for our older population should focus on creating homes that promote connection and socialising.”


Contact and Spokespeople

For more information and to liaise with spokespeople please contact Dr. Dylan Kneale, Head of Research at ILC-UK and author of the report:


  1. The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. We develop ideas, undertake research and create a forum for debate. For more information, please visit:
  2. The Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN), formerly responsible for managing the Department of Health's (DH) Extra Care Housing capital programme, is the leading 'knowledge hub' for a growing network of housing, health and social care professionals in England involved in planning, commissioning, designing, funding, building and managing housing with care for older people.
  3. ‘What role for extra care housing in a socially isolated landscape?’ will be available from the ILC-UK website and from the Housing LIN Website
  4. Previous ILC-UK work on Extra Care includes ‘Establishing the extra in Extra Care: perspectives from three Extra Care Housing Providers’ and  ‘End of life care in Extra Care housing’ 
  5. For more information on Extra Care housing, please visit:
  6. For information on the Draft Care and Support Bill, please visit:
  7. For more information on the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (Housing LIN), please visit:

For more information on the Campaign to End Loneliness, please visit:

What role for extra care housing in a socially isolated landscape? is available to download on the ILC-UK website

People should “right-size” their housing throughout their lives to get the most out of their homes, a think tank says today.

The International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) paper argues that calls made in the past for older people living in large homes to be penalised were both ageist and irrelevant.

“The cultural practice of over-consumption of housing is prevalent across all ages, although older people, through possessing greater financial resources, may be best placed to act upon this aspiration,” the paper concludes.

A lack of desirable retirement housing, the paper suggests, dissuades many older people from moving - reducing the supply of appropriate homes for younger people.

It points out that building of housing for older people has collapsed from over 30,000 units a year in the 1980s to around 8,000 today.

However the think tank also concludes that a complex array of factors has left many older people in homes that no longer meet their needs.
These factors include our tendency to deny the realities of ageing, a state-of-mind that means many are not aware of the benefits retirement housing offers. Research shows that appropriate housing can postpone the onset of chronic conditions or frailty and prevent or delay care home admissions.

The paper recommends that:

  • Health and social care policy should explicitly encourage people to access the right form of housing before crises emerge
  • The government should help councils assess whether the local supply of retirement housing (based on local demographics) is adequate
  • Providers should work together to promote retirement housing and improve its image - and design quality
  • The sector should study successful age-segregated housing for other demographics (such as students) and age-related products (such as Saga holidays).

Both older people and local authorities see retirement housing as for people with significant health or care needs. For older people, this, together with perceptions that such properties are often isolated and expensive, reinforces the idea that such housing is “not for me”.

Downsizing in later life and appropriate housing size across our lifetime is published by Hanover Housing as part of its Hanover@50 Debate.

Hanover chief executive Bruce Moore said: “Individuals need to consider making trade-offs about the housing we require as consumers, as we do with everything else.

“If people want spare rooms - no matter what their age - they may need to consider whether the cost of those extra rooms is a price worth paying. Downsizing is often a good way to release money, or for funding either a nicer - but smaller - home, or a home with onsite care and support where that is needed.”

Dylan Kneale from ILC-UK added: “We must all think harder about the sort of housing we are likely to want to live in as we age. Too many of us deny the impact of ageing and end up in inappropriate housing. Local authorities and central government can help by ensuring that planning policy supports the provision of adequate housing for all ages. Planners and policy-makers must best recognise the impact of our ageing society and develop adequate housing provision for all ages.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. Hanover provides 19,000 homes for older people across England and Wales.
  2. The Hanover@50 Debate features papers from ten think tanks to be published between April and June. For more information on Hanover and to access these papers visit Papers by the RSA and Demos are also published this month as part of the series.
  3. For further information about these papers and Hanover@50, or to arrange an interview, please contact Ben Furner on 01273 463461 or email

ILC-UK calls for a national debate on the future of the care home

A new “futures” report, published by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), argues that the care home of the future must become a ‘community hub’, delivering a range of services under one roof or in closely integrated neighbourhoods.

Launching the report, Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said:
“Our report highlights how care homes have improved over 40 years. Economic, environmental and demographic change will put increased pressure on the sector, as will the need to meet the increasing demands of the older consumer.

The care home of the future must be situated within the community it serves. Care homes should be considered less as a series of physical buildings and more as a model for delivering specialist care within a wider community. Funding models for the care home of the future must help facilitate this new community hub.

We need a public debate on what the care home of the future should look like and how we can all work together to deliver this vision.”

Paul Burstow MP, Minister of State for Care Services added:
"The care home has a future. I've always seen residential care as part of the mix in some people's care journey. At its heart the care home of the future will be the idea of 'home'. A place where relationships matter. A place open and outward looking, part of the community not closed, isolated and institutionalising. These ideas are part of the agenda for transformation I set out in the Care and Support White Paper last week."

Mike Parsons, Chief Executive and founder of Barchester Healthcare added:
“This year marks Barchester Healthcare’s twentieth anniversary. The care home has changed significantly since we launched our first home 20 years ago. The sector has adapted to many of the challenges highlighted in the ILC-UK report over the last 20 years. But we cannot be complacent. Societal change means the sector will need to continue to change to meet new challenges. Identifying and meeting local needs and engaging with communities local to our homes has always been a vital element of our approach to care homes. We take pride in our position at the forefront of the design of the care home of the future, which will continue to play a vital role in the delivery of care for older people and increasingly act as a hub for community support and the strengthening of community links.”

In the report, ‘Care Home Sweet Home’, supported by Barchester Healthcare, ILC-UK highlight the very significant challenges facing the care home sector over the next ten years including:

  • better engaging the community with care homes
  • making the most of the potential of new technology
  • finding a sustainable funding model for care which ensures that the care home can deliver quality personalised services
  • creating an informed care consumer
  • protecting vulnerable adults without over-regulating and thus stifling innovation
  • ‘chronic difficulties’ in the recruitment and retention of care home staff
  • ensuring environmental sustainability through, for example, better management of the consumption of energy and water
  • making the care home a real community hub
  • tackling societal ageism

The ILC-UK report considers how demographic, economic, technological, environmental and social change will impact on the care home sector. It explores how care homes of the future will fit in to the continuum of care, and how they can develop their services flexibly in order to respond to the changing aspirations and needs of 21st century consumers.

Publishing the report, ILC-UK set out recommendations for Government, the care home sector and the community as a whole. ILC-UK argue that:

Government will need to:

  • develop a funding system to adequately fund the care home of the future
  • ensure that funding is designed in such a way as to facilitate the development of personalised services
  • ensure that any new regulatory approaches to care home management do not inadvertently prevent innovation in care
  • find ways of ensuring improved communications between health services (e.g. GPs) and care homes
  • support innovative initiatives to fund energy conservation and the development of renewable energy in the care home sector

The care home sector will need to:

  • better market itself as a good career option for young and old
  • recognise the challenge of personalisation and find ways of better delivering a unique personalised service to the individual
  • reach out to the community
  • wisely introduce new usable and/or ambient technology to improve service delivery

The community as a whole will need to:

  • address endemic ageism, which creates a negative image of care and of older people
  • debate the ethical issues associated with an increased use of technology in care homes
  • find ways of using the care home as a hub
  • become more informed and more demanding consumers of care
  • introduce innovative ways of encouraging volunteering within care homes


Jessica Watson or David Sinclair at ILC-UK on 02073400440


  • Spokespeople are available for broadcast interviews
  • Care Home Sweet Home will be published on the ILC-UK website ( on Wednesday 18th July. Advance copies are available for journalists from Jessica Watson at ILC-UK (
  • Care Home Sweet Home has been funded by Barchester Healthcare

Extra Care Housing could play a major part in delivering better health outcomes and reducing the long term care costs facing older people.

New research, which uses longitudinal data from three providers of Extra Care (Audley Retirement, Extra Care Charitable Trust, and Retirement Security Limited) finds that compared to those living in the community in receipt of domiciliary care, those in extra care housing are about half as likely to enter institutional accommodation. The research argues therefore that extra care accommodation is a ‘home for life’ – one that does successfully adapt to residents’ changing social care needs.

The research also finds that:

  • Around a quarter of residents who enter extra care with additional social care needs, later go on to experience an improvement in their health equating to a decrease in social care needs.
  • Extra care housing is associated with a lower likelihood of admittance to a hospital overnight compared to a matched sample living in the community.
  • A lower than expected number of falls was recorded in a matched comparison group when compared to those living in the community.

These findings suggest that extra care housing could contribute significant financial savings to the public purse, particularly when taking a long-term perspective.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said: “In publishing his recent report on paying for care, Andrew Dilnot recognised the importance of Extra Care housing. This new research provides further evidence that early investment in good quality housing could improve health and care outcomes and reduce costs. It is a win-win situation. We urge the Government to make specific pledges to support the development of the extra care housing as part of developing a range of housing options available to older people.”

Dr Dylan Kneale, Senior Researcher, ILC-UK added: “This report breaks new ground in researching the housing with care model, through using never before analysed longitudinal data on almost 4,000 extra care housing residents. In doing so, the report shows that extra care housing successfully lives up to the remit of providing housing for older people that can adapt to their changing needs.”

Jeremy Porteus, Director of Housing LIN, welcomed this excellent report. He said “This is an extremely important report that cuts across housing, health and social care sector silos. It makes a significant contribution to the growing body of evidence around the value of extra care housing and the triggers for older people wanting to make a positive lifestyle choice on independent living in later life or in response to or pre-empt a future health and care need. The macro economic benefits and the potential ‘dividend’ to local health and social care economies where there is an extra care scheme are enormous. Most importantly, extra care housing can offer a ‘home for life’ for many residents and reduce demand on more costly care interventions. Policy makers, commissioners and planners should take note.”

ILC-UK believes that:

1. Policy-makers need a co-ordinated response to providing housing, health care and social care for our ageing population.

2. Policy-makers should make specific pledges to increase the level of provision of extra-care housing.

3. The proposed National Planning Policy Framework should champion the housing needs of older people far more robustly.

4. Policy-makers should recognise and encourage private sector development of extra-care housing.

5. The Health White Paper in its current form does include some mention of housing, although this is in the context of Lifetime Homes and the Warm Front schemes, both of which have fallen by the policy wayside in recent months. The findings in this report suggest that policy-makers drafting the Health White Paper should explicitly consider and make specific pledges to increase the role of housing with care.

6. Policy-makers should enhance programmes of education for those who are retired and newly retired to plan their housing and financial futures. Furthermore, consumers need reassurance that policy changes will not negatively impact their retirement decisions.

7. Any National or Local Falls Prevention Strategy should include housing as a key component of preventing further falls.

8. Receipt of Attendance Allowance opens a gateway for many older people to access extra care housing, through helping to finance monthly care costs and to help access other benefits. We would urge policy-makers to ensure that all who are eligible to claim Attendance Allowance do so which could enable greater numbers of older people to support a stay in extra care housing.

9. We would call on policy-makers to fund the design and delivery of standard data collection across the sector to allow researchers to fully quantify costs and benefits of different care models.


  • Extra care housing represents an integrated model of housing and flexible social care support that potentially holds fiscal and wider benefits for older people and the state
  • Over the last year, ILC-UK has been undertaking a major piece of research into the benefits of extra care housing through examining resident outcomes.
  • Using longitudinal data from 3 providers, Audley Retirement, Extra Care Charitable Trust, and Retirement Security Limited, with additional funding provided from Housing Learning and Improvement Network, we have undertaken a major review which explores the characteristics of residents, the notion of extra care housing as a home for life, the health outcomes of residents, and patterns of health service usage of residents.
  • We have also explored the costs and benefits associated with our findings. This new research also explores how the outcomes of residents in extra care could differ from the outcomes of older people living in the community in receipt of domiciliary care.
  • The research will be launched at an event on 13th September 2011 at the International Longevity Centre – UK.
  • The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. We develop ideas, undertake research and create a forum for debate.

Urban and deprived residents could find their voices relatively unheard, according to new research by the International Longevity Centre- UK.

Press release

The research finds that voters in urban areas are less interested in politics and significantly less likely to vote in all or most local elections than those in rural areas, although much of his effect appeared driven by higher levels of disadvantage and inequality in urban areas.

Ahead of the local elections and referendum on a new voting system, new research, ‘Can Localism work for Older People in Urban Environments?’ by the International Longevity Centre- UK (ILC-UK) (1) highlights the risk that those who are less well-off will not have their voice heard in this week’s local elections and national referendum.

The research also argues that the success of the Government’s Localism Bill depends on equitable access to social networks and information, as well as substantial levels of political interest and community engagement. But it finds that these are lacking for some people, particularly older people, living in urban communities.

ILC-UK undertook critical analysis of the British Social Attitudes Survey (2) to inform a new research paper on the impact of the Big Society and Localism Bill (3) on older people living in urban environments. The analysis found that:

  • Older people in urban areas were not as interested in politics – twice as many older people in urban areas said they had little or no interest in politics (35%) compared to older rural residents (18%).
  • Not only were adults of all ages in urban areas less interested in politics, they were significantly less likely to vote in all or most local elections than those in rural areas.
  • While older people are generally more interested in politics than working age people, older people in urban areas show around the same degree of interest in politics as working age people in rural areas.

The report finds that disadvantage drives several of these differences. It finds that having no qualifications or living in social housing negatively predict political interest and voting in local elections – more urban residents share these characteristics than rural residents.

In publishing this report, ILC-UK recommends that:

  • Policy-makers should seek to strengthen interpersonal, intergenerational, and multigenerational networks, particularly in urban areas.
  • Policy making under Localism should find a way to ensure that decisions reflect the diversity of the electorate.
  • Local and central Government should engage in a programme of activity to encourage community engagement among more hard to reach groups.
  • The Government should introduce minimum standards for the provision of timely information should be set in place to facilitate engagement among older and more deprived residents.
  • Community meetings, referendums and other opportunities to participate in the Big Society in urban areas should be structured around the specific needs of older people to ensure adequate representation.
  • The National Planning Framework, which will provide guidance for local development, should include provision for housing an ageing population and ensuring the adequate provision of affordable housing.

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said “As the Localism Bill reaches its final Parliamentary stages, it is vital that the Government considers how it can ensure that it raises participation from hard to reach groups and foster intergenerational trust and cooperation, elements that are required to ensure that decisions taken on service provision and development reflect the needs of people of all ages”

Dr Dylan Kneale, Senior Researcher at ILC- UK added “Ahead of this week’s elections, this research shows that we must make a real effort to engage with more disadvantaged urban residents in the political process. We can’t risk a situation where the voices of the poorest urban residents are not heard.”

The research also finds that:

Access to information and services

  • Older people in urban areas are significantly less likely to have access to the internet at home (two-fifths do) than older people in rural or suburban areas (over half do).
  • Older people across all areas are significantly less likely to have access to the internet at home than people under 65. Under half of older people across all areas have access to the internet at home compared to over three-quarters of people under 65. Even fewer older people actually use the internet.
  • Older people in urban areas are more likely to be dependent on public transport to reach local shops and services than in rural areas (24% versus 8%), and are more likely to report that there are areas within a mile of their home that they are afraid to walk through (61% versus 33%).
  • These findings are of concern as there is little detail in the Localism Bill on standards for ensuring access to information and new decision making structures.

Intergenerational relations and Big Society

  • Older people in urban areas are more likely to agree or agree strongly that young people do not have respect for British values, almost 90% do.
  • But, working age people (under 65) in urban areas appear more sympathetic to older people continuing in the workforce and to raising the benefits given to pensioners.
  • Nevertheless, these findings are of concern as they suggest that the quality of intergenerational relations in urban areas may be lower than in rural areas. To make the Localism Bill work and ensure that no group or generation loses out, good intergenerational cooperation is needed.

Many of our findings reflect wider concerns about the ability of less advantaged people to participate in decision making structures, and to lobby for the continuation of services upon which they may be reliant, without clear guidance and minimum standards in place for the provision of information.



For further information contact David Sinclair or Dylan Kneale: 02073400440.

The report is available to download below.

ILC-UK is the leading independent think-tank in the UK tackling issues of longevity, ageing and demographic change. We are part of the International Longevity Centre Global Alliance. We have 12 partners across the globe. For more information, please visit the ILC-UK website or our blog
British Social Attitudes survey is a cross-sectional survey collected by the National Centre for Social Research. The report used data from the 2009 and 2008 sweeps.
The Localism Bill includes measures to reform the power of Local Authorities, changes to the delivery of local services, and changes to the way that planning and development decisions are made. It is currently at the House of Commons report stage and is yet to pass to the House of Lords.

The creation of neighbourhoods for all ages has been met with limited success, and progress could be hindered further by the Localism Bill and spending cuts, the International Longevity Centre – UK argues today.

In a new think piece, Localism and Neighbourhoods for all ages, the think tank argues that provisions in the Localism Bill which remove some planning bureaucracy could potentially allow more rapid development of age-friendly neighbourhoods and that the Bill could allow communities to respond directly to their needs, including providing for an ageing population.

However, the think piece also argues that older people’s issues have historically been marginalised in community development, and that any benefits of the Localism Bill in creating communities reflective of an older demographic might not materialise without specific protection and development of services, homes and communities for an ageing population. Communities may actually become less age-friendly without specific protection.

To counteract the potential obstacles and facilitate the potential benefits that the Localism Bill could bring, the report makes a series of recommendations.

The think piece calls on the Government to

  • Include specific provision and guidance for planning for an ageing society within the National Planning Framework.
  • Ensure that the Localism Bill includes greater safeguards to guarantee that the rights of marginalised or minority populations to access a full range of amenities and services locally are protected.
  • Expand the equality impact assessment of the Localism Bill to include an assessment of the proposed changes on all marginalised groups including older people, and respond accordingly.
  • Bind Local Authorities to a set of minimum standards for the provision of accessible, relevant and timely information to older people on local developments
  • Introduce a presumption in favour of development to construct more Lifetime Homes and Neighbourhoods for all ages

The report also recommends that researchers should better evidence the case for neighbourhoods for all and include more robust and specific (and evidenced based) recommendations as to what constitutes a “Lifetime Neighbourhood” and more generally a neighbourhood for all ages.

Baroness Greengross, ILC-UK Chief Executive said:
The outlook for neighbourhoods that can support people of all ages after the Spending Review appears ostensibly bleak. Whilst we are enthusiastic about the concept of localism, we must ensure that the impact of the Localism Bill and spending cuts doesn’t mean that the idea of creating neighbourhoods for all ages sinks before it can swim.”

Dr Dylan Kneale, Senior Researcher at ILC-UK added:
“Yes, localism offers opportunity to ensure that community design responds to needs of all groups. But it also risks creating an ‘X-factor’ school of local politics, where social issues and concerns that are not popular do not receive due consideration. For localism to work alongside Big Society, we must ensure that the voice of minority groups are not drowned out by the majority.


  1. Localism and Neighbourhoods for all ages examines the development and progression of communities for an ageing population through ‘Lifetime Neighbourhoods’ and other measures, in the context of recent policy changes including the Spending Review and the Localism Bill.
  2. Lifetime Neighbourhoods were adopted into Department of Communities and Local Government policy in 2007/8, although have virtually disappeared as a concept and ideology from national policy since then.
  3. On November 29th 2010, ILC-UK held an event sponsored by Audley, Anchor, and Arup that questioned the impact of the move towards Localism on the homes and communities of older people. This ILC-UK think piece broadly summarises the debate about building homes and communities for the future in light of the December 2010 Localism Bill, giving additional context and wider discussion to the issues of neighbourhoods for all ages. It also includes a transcript from the event itself as an appendix.
  4. ILC-UK would like to thank Audley, Anchor and Arup for giving us the opportunity to present our thoughts on these issues. Special thanks go to our speaker, Professor Elizabeth Burton (University of Warwick) and to our discussants: Jane Ashcroft (Anchor); Nick Sanderson (Audley); Sue Adams (Care and Repair England); Gemma Bradshaw, (Age UK); and Julian Dobson (NS +). Thanks are also due to all those who attended the event who contributed to a lively debate.


  • A neighbourhood for all ages and more specifically a ‘Lifetime neighbourhood’ is one which offers everyone the best possible chance of health, wellbeing, and social, economic and civic engagement regardless of age.
  • In the early 1990s the Joseph Rowntree Foundation issued its first set of 16 point-criteria for a ‘Lifetime Home’ – a home that could support different lifecourse stages from early adulthood and family building, to empty nesters, to older age (Hanson 2001)

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Help the Aged has published a briefing paper from the ILC-UK analysing how effectively older people are able to make their voices heard, and concluding that perceptions can be misleading.

The paper can be downloaded by clicking on this link: VOICE - A Briefing Paper

Author: James Lloyd, Head of Policy & Research, ILC-UK

This project will look at the role of older people’s housing and housing-related care issues in England's regional strategy, and consider how the relatively low priority given to these concerns can be overcome.

This project brings together representatives from the Department of Health, Communities and Local Government, the Retirement Housing Group, the South East Public Health Group, the Town and Country Planning Association, the National Housing Federation and Help the Aged.

Outcomes are expected to be an extended think-piece, which will be produced in conjunction with the expected National Strategy on Ageing, and a series of regional seminars.

For more information on the project, please contact Ed Harding, Senior Researcher at the ILC-UK.


See the latest ILC newsletter here. Sign up to our mailing list here.

The Communities and Local Government Committee has today released their report on Housing for Older People featuring oral and written evidence from Senior Research Fellow Dr Brian Beach.

The International Longevity Centre - UK hosts an annual full day conference to bring together representatives from Government, business, academia and civil society to discuss the Future of Ageing.

ILC-UK are recruiting for a Research Fellow to join the team

ILC-UK is recruiting for a Head of External Affairs to join the team

ILC-UK and the IFA express their concerns at the impact proposed changes to the childhood pneumococcal immunisation programme could have for rates of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease.