The National Housing Federation published new research in May that demonstrates a huge, and largely invisible, problem: a Baby Boomer housing crisis.
While skyrocketing house prices and stagnant wages have led to an all-too familiar housing crisis among younger segments of UK society (the Millennial Generation, born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s), a similar situation is playing out – far less visibly – amongst the over-50s. And mobility is a crucial part of it.
44% of private renters in England aged 50+ (that’s nearly half a million people) have, apparently, been “forced to make potentially drastic decisions to cover the cost of their rent.” And, in the case of renters in that age group who have moved in the last 3 years, a full 25% (about 52,000 people) have been “forced to do so against their will.”
The researchers also note that “many more are stuck in unsuitable housing, leaving people unable to wash, go to the toilet or leave their homes independently.”
Overall, there are 1.13 million people over 50 living in private rented accommodation today – a much larger proportion of this population than has had to do so in previous decades due, the researchers say, to the decline of social housing. The private rented sector, they note, “has dramatically rising rents, the most insecure contracts and the most difficult to adapt homes.”
Here are some shocking statistics that demonstrate that within this housing crisis is a full-blown mobility crisis, which is not being reported widely by the press. Of this group: 42% have fallen in their own home. One in six cannot wash themselves independently. 4% cannot go to the toilet independently. 43% leave their homes “less often than they want to.” And an incredible 59% of people dealing with these issues have done so for more than a year.
The researchers understandably suggest that: “the Government must urgently look into how the private rented sector can work better for older people”. But it is also true that there is a knowledge gap on the part of the public: many people simply don’t know what mobility help is available or how much it costs.
If you, or a relative, are currently struggling to make your way around the home, wash, use the toilet, navigate the stairs, or suffer any other mobility-related difficulties, why not get in touch with Shire Mobility? Our experienced staff will be happy to walk you through what’s available.