The ageing society is not all about being old and frail- It's mostly about an extended middle age
Published by Rob Ghosh for Hanover Housing Group in Housing and also in Care and Support, Education, Local Government
‘The major demographic change today is not so much about the extended period of our lives when we need looking after, but rather “an extension of our middle age”.’
Speaking at the book launch of Hanover Housing Association’s “Perspectives on Ageing and Housing” in the House of Lords today (26 November 2013), Lord Best, Chair of Hanover, went on to say: “Missing the middle is missing the point. Instead of just concentrating our attention on those who need some care and support during the final years of their life, we need to consider the position of the much larger number who occupy the middle ground, the “younger-older”.”
“This extended middle age provides the opportunity to prepare for our later years, not least in sorting out our housing requirements to prevent loss of independence in later life.”
Hanover’s guests at the book launch included Nick Boles, Minister for Planning, David Orr, Chief Executive, National Housing Federation, Grainia Long, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Housing, and Dame Clare Tickell who takes up her post as Hanover’s new Chief Executive in January.
Nick Boles said: “There’s no getting away from the fact that we’re all living longer and must build more homes or suitable accommodation for older people if we are to avoid problems further down the track
"Making sure there’s enough suitable homes like bungalows will help ensure the ageing population can live in the places that they want and enjoy their retirement, and will bring more underused family homes on to the market."
“Perspectives on Ageing and Housing” is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between Hanover and nine leading think tanks, with a final contribution from Lord Best, with recommendations to government, to housing providers and to all of us as we grow older. The book concludes with a call for a big increase in attractive, spacious, manageable accommodation for the “baby boomers” in their extra middle years, so more people can minimise their need for care at a later stage.
The book is a key part of Hanover’s celebration of its 50th Anniversary featuring the Hanover@50 Debate. Many of the think tank contributions tackled the need for perceptions and language to change, to get rid of patronising and prejudiced attitudes toward the new generation of “older people”.
“Fifty years ago Hanover was established to provide sheltered housing for those over 55, said Lord Best. “But today nobody believes most 55-year-olds need the shelter and protection of a live-in warden and the supervision of their daily recreation. Yet our attitudes still seem to be in a 1960s groove which sees those of pensionable age as at the end of their lives. We need to understand that, for very many people, 70 is the new 55 and those extra years are the time to creatively prevent and pre-empt later difficulties for ourselves and others.”
The book’s ten chapters are:
- Chapter 1: The Fabian Society – Ageing in the Middle
- Chapter 2: Policy Exchange – Housing and intergenerational fairness
- Chapter 3: The Smith Institute – Selling off the family silver?
- Chapter 4: The RSA – Sex, skydiving and tattoos
- Chapter 5: Demos – Sociable housing in later life
- Chapter 6: ILC-UK – Downsizing in later life and appropriate housing size across our lifetime
- Chapter 7: ResPublica – Putting people into personalisation
- Chapter 8: The Centre for Social Justice – Strengthening relationships to prevent isolation and loneliness in older age
- Chapter 9: IPPR – Moving on: migration trends in later life
- Chapter 10: Lord Best – Accommodating our extended middle age