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Retirement villages ‘could help tackle scarcity of appropriate housing for elderly’

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The charity Silver Voices has hit out at the current state of housing, insisting “in our ageing society the days of shutting away older people and forgetting about them must end”. It is proposing a model which will give the older generation a far better quality of life. Advanced community villages, backed by their members, would combine care facilities with affordable retirement living.

They would offer permanent care to physically and mentally impaired people, along with a unit to prepare people for independent living after NHS treatment.

Centre staff would provide home care for those living in surrounding bungalows and apartments, which will be available to rent, buy or home exchange.

Centres would also have community spaces and services agreed by the residents, such as restaurants, cafes, shops, laundrettes or creches.

A survey by Silver Voices has revealed the needs and priorities of older people. Two-thirds told the survey they would be interested in living in an advanced community village.

Silver Voices director Dennis Reed said: “Around 12 million people in the UK are over 65 but the housing strategy for them is non-existent.

“Apart from limited sheltered social housing, senior ­citizens wanting to downsize into better supported and accessible accommodation are faced with the choice of a care home or an expensive apartment in a retirement complex, often isolated from local communities.

“In both cases many of their human rights to control their own lives will be forfeited. It is a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. So it is not surprising the majority try to struggle on in their own homes.

“Older people must be heard in the design of retirement housing, to provide flexible options which meet a variety of needs.

“And it is vital retired housing is incorporated into communities, so older people can continue to contribute to the wider society.”

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