In July 2017, in conjunction with Care & Repair England, BMG Research undertook an online poll with 481 UK residents aged 55 or over to ascertain their views on home adaptations.
The findings show that just under eight in ten (78%) of over 55s said that they wanted to live in their current home as they got older. Over half (55%) do not expect to have to adapt their home, whilst 23% do expect to have to carry out adaptations at some stage. Just over a fifth of respondents (22%) want to move to a home that suits them better as they get older. One of the most interesting findings is that there is a decrease in the number of people who say they want to move as the age bracket gets older. Just under a third (31%) of 55-64 year olds stated that they wanted to move; this drops to 21% for those aged 65-74 and just 12% of those 75 and over.
Just under a quarter (23%) of those aged 55+ have already had adaptations made to their homes. The likelihood of having an adaptation increases with age. Just 17% of those aged 55 to 64 have had an adaptation; this then rises to 24% for those aged 65 to 74 and then almost a third (32%) of those aged 75+.
Exploring where people would look for information when thinking about home adaptations, a fifth (20%) would go to the council first. Of those aged 55-64, 23% said their first step would be to do an internet search. 9% of 55-64 year olds would go to an independent advice agency such as Age UK or Care and Repair, compared to 15% of those aged 65+.
Going to friends/ family is the least likely first step, with just 8% of respondents saying this would be their first step. Interestingly, the likelihood of going to family/ friends first in regards to home adaptations rises the older the age group. Whilst just 4% of those aged 55-64 would go to family/ friends, this then rises to 14% to those aged 75+
Looking into the barriers which may stop people from adapting their home, 43% of over 55s say that they cannot afford home adaptations and 23% don’t know what adaptations might be possible or best for them. Whilst these two options remain the highest in each age category, the proportion mentioning affordability as a barrier is highest amongst 55 to 64 year olds, the youngest age group, with 50% choosing this option. At a smaller scale worries about devaluing the home (8%) and family not wanting them to do it (just 1%) were minority issues.
Sue Adams OBE, Chief Executive of Care & Repair England comments, “These are very useful findings for the planners and providers of housing and services. The results very much accord with our discussions with older people, particularly the fact that the majority of people do want to live in their current home as they get older and that this aspiration increases with age.
On the whole people are realistic about having to make adaptations, or sometimes move, but there is clearly a gap when it comes to knowing where to get information and advice about what is best for them.
The finding that cost is a major barrier to adaptations reinforces the case for financial help, making the news in last week’s budget of an increase in funding for disabled facilities grants even more welcome.”
Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here