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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.

Appropriate housing options to facilitate ageing in place can be a powerful tool to address the growing need for housing and social care in light of an ageing population. However, the UK lags behind a number of other countries in the provision of specialist later life housing. Through a review of literature, a stakeholder roundtable, and a series of expert interviews, this research has explored what the UK can learn from other countries who have a more robust specialist retirement housing and housing-with-care sector.

This report, supported by the Associated Retired Community Operators (ARCO) and Legal and General Capital first discusses the issue of terminology around later life housing and housing-with-care in the UK and other international contexts. It then highlights how the housing-with-care sector varies across countries and the scene state of the sector in the UK. The report then goes on to look at three areas fundamental to the sector: legislation, financing, and planning. Much of this is drawn from the qualitative work in the project, synthesising the feedback from various experts and stakeholders working in this area. This leads to a final discussion that features some of the lessons that could help development of the housing-with-care sector in the UK.

Briefly summarised, the research suggests that the sector would benefit if engaged stakeholders worked to:

  • Develop and introduce sector-specific legislation and regulation, aimed at increasing both consumer confidence while at the same time providing longer-term certainty to operators and investors
  • Create different types of products that suit diverse needs, while reducing complexity
  • Take greater consideration of the experience that housing-with-care offers, rather than focusing solely on a housing product
  • Consider alternative models to contractual arrangements, e.g. a right to occupy approach
  • Avoid unnecessarily burdensome regulation of care and support within housing-with-care settings
  • Develop robust industry standards, regardless of the progress (or lack thereof) in relevant legislation
  • Improve local authority awareness of housing-with-care and its role in later life planning
  • Collaborate to benefit from the advantages of an industry representative body

Author: Dr Brian Beach, ILC-UK Senior Research fellow

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