Of all the different sectors of the property market in the UK, the older demographic is the one perhaps facing the most challenges at the present time. Although the difficulties of the young and first-time buyers attempting to get on the housing ladder are never far from the headlines, housing issues concerning the elderly deserve equal consideration and discussion.
With the property market currently enjoying one of its healthier periods since the banking crisis of 2008, the needs of the older members of society should be addressed by those involved in the industry at all levels and also by the general public.
With an acknowledged shortage of housing suitable for families across much of the UK, there is pressure from some quarters for a move towards “downsizing.” This is basically aimed at those people who still live in a sizable home that was suitable for them when they were younger and bringing up children but now can be too large to be truly fit for purpose. This can be a real concern for those who may be dealing with failing health or with long-term illness, as the size of a property may simply be too much for them to handle and to maintain properly.
There are also huge demographic changes happening at the moment. The population of the UK is getting older, as more people live for longer. For many people, this is very good news indeed, but for those who have to manage declining health, both in physical terms and mental terms, it can mean that extra strain is being put on national health resources at a time of limited funding and austerity cutbacks. The wider issue of care home provision is therefore a challenge for society as a whole because, quite simply, there are not enough facilities to meet the demand as it stands, let alone to be able to cope with the predicted explosion in age-related care problems that is likely to engulf the UK in the coming years.
Public or private?
In the UK, we have a long and much cherished tradition of care that is embodied in the concept of the National Health Service. However, the fact is that central government is struggling to find ways to keep the current standards of care in place, and it seems to be floundering as to how to offer solutions for the various problems that lie ahead. Many elderly and vulnerable people, particularly those suffering from the symptoms of dementia, are being ill-served by the current provisions for care home placements. This is one area where the private sector has already proved its worth as part of a managed solution to the problem. Companies such as MBi Social Care are providing top-class facilities and services that many have already found offer the best answers to the pressing problems. As an independent company that specialises in dementia care, MBi Social Care is a perfect example of how the private sector can take some of the pressure off mainstream health provision and help the country through the challenging conditions that the NHS is facing.
Problems and solutions
It is clear that the UK is facing up to a housing crisis for the elderly across many fronts, so any solutions that can be found should be welcomed and embraced. This means that the limits of traditional ideas of “cradle to grave” care from a system funded by the state might have to be challenged, and that the best creative responses could already be operating right under your nose.