The National Council of Women’s East Midland Region held a seminar in Nottingham on important current issues concerning  Housing  for Older People. The chairman, Sheila Eaton, opened the proceedings, welcoming everyone including members from other regions. She read a best wishes email from the National President Gwenda Nicholas who said, ‘Your seminar is focusing on some very important issues for society and there is a great deal of interest from NCW members in the outcomes of this event’ ‘I very much regret I am not able to be with you’. The Chairman said the speakers had been chosen to provide information on housing options available for older people and on the financial implications. 

Dianne Marshall, SilverLinks Coordinator from Age UK stressed the importance of looking at needs 5/10 years ahead and explained the different housing available (a regular report is produced) – local authority, private and alms housing, also various charities. Dianne explained the assistance available to help people remain in their own homes, new technology and grants to make home improvements, also a recommended traders list. She gave contact details for this help. Other options suggested were Homeshare with a younger person, downsizing, and moving in with family. Silverlink volunteers with different housing experiences can also help and advise.

Gill Sabin, Regional Director for retirement developers McCarthy and Stone began with the over 60s population figures. There were 11.4 million people over 60 in 2014 and this is likely to rise to 17.2 million by 2033 – 76% are aged 65+ with 74% being current home owners, owning £1.2 trillion of housing stock. Two out of three people are moving from three or four bedroom houses. The company  build on brown field sites near city centres, thus helping to maintain local high streets. Three types of properties are available through McCarthy and Stone and a presentation of several developments was given.

Ortus Homes are for the 55+ age group, with 2-3 bedrooms and more generous accommodation. They have no house manager or restaurant. Retirement Living is for the 60+ who need a little support. A house manager is on site, there is a camera door entry system and a 24-hour emergency call system. Assisted living is designed for 70+, but is often occupied by people in their 80s. The maintenance charges include a house manager, home owner lounge, restaurant, landscaped gardens, CCTV camera and a variety of activities.  A visitor’s guest suite is available for rent.

Sheila Eaton, Chairman, reported on a Nottingham Village development costing £57 million funded by the ExtraCare Charitable Trust and the Nottingham City Council along with other housing funding. The village has 327 homes comprising 255 self contained apartments and 72 bungalows. She had visited the development and found the people, setting, facilities, and activities excellent. There is a mixture of purchased, shared ownership and rented properties with some residents receiving housing and/or care benefits. Residents must live in Nottingham city or have city connections and there is a waiting list of at least a year.

Davy Hudson, BA [Hons]FPFS Chartered Financial Planner, Partner in St James Place Wealth Management Ltd, and Associate Member of SOLLA (Society of Later Life Advisers), gave a first class and  most informative presentation on finance issues relating to older people; dealing with the new Care Act, Inheritance Tax, Benefits and Six Ways of Paying for Care. He said that in 2016 there will be more people aged over 40 than under 40, and at retirement nearly half of all UK individual wealth is held in residential property. Davy warned that more and more older people will have to pay for their care and gave invitations to a large future event in Nottingham entitled Later Life Matters, with speakers and stands providing information about help organisations /services etc. for older people.