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Is co-living a housing solution for vulnerable older people?

Many vulnerable older people face related challenges around poor housing, poverty, loneliness and lack of support, which co-living housing models have the potential to address. The Nationwide Foundation and the Nationwide Building Society have funded CCHPR to conduct research in order to understand the benefits, risks and potential for scaling up of co-living models for vulnerable older people. Our research will include analysis of the complex and sometimes ambiguous legal and financial frameworks that can apply to such households.

The proportion of people aged 65 and over is growing faster than any other age group, and there are considerable differences between the wealth, health and housing circumstances of older people in the UK. While the income of many pensioners has risen and a number of older home owners hold considerable assets in property, many older households are on low or restricted incomes, with more than one in five pensioners in the UK living below the poverty line. Over a third of older people also live in non-decent or hazardous housing conditions. As people age, ordinary tasks within the home can become more difficult. Over three quarters of a million people aged 65 and over in the UK need specially adapted accommodation because of a medical condition or disability and 145,000 of them report living in homes that do not meet their needs. For older people with relatively low incomes and increasing physical frailty, the challenge can be maintaining and heating their homes as well as continuing to live securely and safely.

It has been consistently shown that good housing conditions can help to sustain good physical and mental health. A National Strategy for Housing in an Ageing Society has been in place in the UK since 2008, but little progress has been made by government in improving the housing conditions of the most vulnerable older people.

However, bottom-up solutions have been created by social housing providers, charitable organisations, social enterprises and older people themselves - and one of these solutions is co-living.  Our research for the Nationwide Foundation, an independent charitable foundation with a vision for everyone in the UK to have access to a decent home that they can afford, will include interviews with stakeholders as well as qualitative research with three different models of older peoples' co-living. 

Project Publications:

Co-living for vulnerable older people: Literature review

The initial phase for this project for The Nationwide Foundation and the Nationwide Building Society was a desk-based review of existing evidence about the benefits and risks of older peoples’ co-living. The review considers the relevant institutional, legal and financial frameworks that impact upon older peoples’ co-living.

Co-living for vulnerable older people: Literature review - Read More…

CCHPR Contact

Project Start Date

November 2018