It’s one of the biggest issues facing countries and leaders across the world and has been brought into starker focus than ever by the Covid-19 pandemic – how can governments, local authorities and private enterprises look after a rapidly ageing population, where people tend to live much longer?
In Scotland, property firm Sovereign Property Partnership and ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators) have joined together to spearhead a housing with care taskforce north of the border.
The inaugural meeting takes place on Thursday (August 26) and will see a mixture of operators, investors, developers, civil servants, planners, lawyers and architects unite to understand how best to promote the housing with care sector in Scotland.
The taskforce is aiming to build on the work done in England by ARCO, where on Thursday July 1 MPs from four parties used the first ever parliamentary debate on housing-with-care to urge the UK government to move ahead with ARCO’s proposal for a cross-department housing-with-care taskforce. This led to the government confirming that this taskforce is now under consideration. The ultimate aim of the group is to encourage a similar debate in Holyrood.
Currently, there is enough housing with care in Scotland to cater for approximately 1% of over-75s, according to Housing LIN. This compares unfavourably with New Zealand, where there is enough to cater for 14%.
Sovereign Property Partnership’s own research found that demand for 'Housing with Care' far exceeds supply in Scotland and says it is vital that this form of housing is considered as part of the housing mix to allow older, vulnerable adults to maintain a good quality of life for longer.
“It is fantastic to see so many businesses keen to engage in this debate. Our population is ageing quickly and there is a massive gap between what people want and what there is available in terms of housing,” Andrew Fyfe, co-founder and director of Sovereign Property Partnership, said.
Fyfe, who founded the consultancy in 2019 along with fellow University of Aberdeen Real Estate Masters graduate David Steyn, added: “This gap in the social care landscape needs to be addressed sooner than later or the problem is going to get worse. We will continue to see people living in homes that are no longer suitable for them, with nowhere else to go.”
He said The National Care Service report, published on August 19, makes no reference to housing with care ‘even though it has a vital role to play in ensuring older people are well cared for, whilst freeing up mainstream housing and reducing the burden on the NHS’.
Sovereign Property Partnership was set up because its founders saw a gap in the market and recognised the difficulties facing retirees, developers, regulators and providers. The pair work with research partners, including the University of Aberdeen and the Elderly Accommodation Counsel, to analyse supply and demand need for senior housing (retirement living) in Scotland.
If you are interested in participating in the taskforce or have any questions, you can get in touch with Andrew Fyfe directly via e-mail at email@example.com.