Help needed to reform housing for retirees

u3a members thinking about moving home or with a professional interest in the built environment are needed to help improve housing for older people. Members will be asked to take part in consumer research, while retired professionals such as architects and planners will help inform a new ISO standard for age-friendly housing. 

A report Cultivating Neighbourhoods That Care, published by the Agile Ageing Alliance with housing association Clarion and ISO (The International Organisation for Standardisation), says developers should focus on building age-friendly housing within multigenerational neighbourhoods to combat loneliness in all age groups. 

These neighbourhoods might include large open courtyards with clear pathways, enclosed social spaces with plants and seating areas, large balconies, pharmacies on the ground floor, interactive shading and wayfinding systems for comfort and security. 

Speaking at the report launch, u3a Chief Executive Sam Mauger said: “A multigenerational neighbourhood embodies equality of opportunity and talent. It ensures that older adults are seen as contributors and consumers in the same way that every other working adult or younger person should be. 

“Let’s imagine a fresh collaborative approach which recognises that older people are not a burden but still have the potential to contribute to their communities.” 

Ian Spero, founder of the Agile Ageing Alliance, said: “Older people today do not want to be pigeonholed. If they are thinking of scaling down, we know they are looking to move to environments that support their lifestyle, which should include gardens, restaurants and public space for socialising. What’s missing is a commonly agreed view of ‘what good looks like’, making it hard to plan. The sooner we can standardise best practice, the more confidence will increase and the faster the market will grow.” 

To get involved, please email your details to info@agileageing.org. To learn more about this initiative and to download Cultivating Neighbourhoods That Care, visit agileageing.org

Taken from Third Age Matters, Summer 2022 Magazine