Housing Crisis: What next for the Elderly?
Most experts agree we are in the midst of a housing crisis but much of the focus has been on building more homes for first time buyers.
Now reporter Adrian Goldberg finds that there are also housing shortages for elderly people when he tries to find suitable accommodation for his 92-year-old mum Kitty.
Adrian and his siblings grew up in the same three bed council house that Kitty still lives in.
Kitty broke her hip earlier this year in a fall - it’s time for her to move into a place with more support.
But Adrian wants to make sure that she moves into a place that’s better for her. After all, she’ll be leaving a lot of memories behind.
And it would free up a 3 bedroom council house for one of the nearly 13,000 households on Birmingham Council’s waiting list.
Kitty is one of nearly 5,000 Brum tenants who have at least two empty bedrooms.
Finding the right place for Kitty is crucial, according to Dr James Brown at Aston Research Centre for Healthy Aging.
“Potentially, it's a huge decision in terms of her health outcomes. She's much more likely to maintain her independence, health, her happiness, her general wellbeing, in an environment that's supported.
“I think if you look at the traditional, sheltered accommodation, there often aren’t the facilities, or the resources, to support people.”
Bosses at Salix Homes in Salford agree that sheltered housing is not always the right choice nowadays.
Jonathan Drake explains: “It might well be the case that in 10, 15 years time we might have to knock down some of our shelter schemes because they're not working for the people that live in them and we might have to look to build something new that is very different.”
Kitty gets to look around an Extracare Retirement Village, often seen as a better option, near to her home. Her verdict is immediate.
“I would like to get one like this Adrian.”
But that is one form of elderly accommodation that is in short supply.
And there is a buyer beware message in the programme.
Retirement flats have a chequered history when it comes to retaining their value.
Cath White lost £50,000 in service charges and valuation when she sold her mum’s retirement flat following her mum’s death.
But there’s also some good news about staying in your own home by adapting it courtesy of a little known Government grant - the Disabled Facilities Grant.
It got octogenarian Mary Lines £6,000 towards a ramp and new wet room that’s transformed her life.
Meanwhile Adrian is still looking for a place for his mum Kitty.