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The rising cost of adapting a home for care needs

Property Reporter
17th December 2021
pensioner 562

It is estimated that just 4.6 million of the UK’s 20.8 million over-55s are living in a property that would be suitable should they need care in later life - meaning millions more will be looking to adapt their homes over the coming years.

According to new research from equity release adviser, Key, suggests that this figure could be as high as 7.5 million older people.

Another 30% will be looking to move home or have resigned themselves to managing in their current property without making any adaptions (2.6 million or 13%), according to Key. With 63% of over-55s wanting to receive care at home, those who intend to adapt their homes anticipate spending spend an average of £7,600.

Stairlifts (47%), wet rooms (42%) and replacing external stairs with a ramp at the front of the property (29%) were seen as the most likely adaptations needed but renovating a downstairs room to make it a bedroom (19%) or bathroom (15%) were also considerations.

More than one in five (21%) believe they will need to find more than £10,000 to adapt their home to meet their needs in later life. Others (16%) are in a relatively fortunate position that they believe any improvements to their home will cost less than £1,000.

Will Hale, CEO of Key, commented: “Most people want to be able to stay in their own home if they need care in later life and for 7.5 million over-55s this is going to mean needing to adapt the property to meet their needs. Arguably, this number may even be higher as while some people intend to move, the UK simply does not currently have enough suitable housing stock to meet their needs.

“Whether it is relatively straightforward work such as installing easy-grip door handles and ramps or more complex work such as converting bathrooms or turning downstairs rooms into bedrooms, this comes with an average price tag of £7,500 which well may be difficult to fund out of retirement income. Using housing equity to make the home you want to stay in more functional for your needs as you age only seems to make sense as it allows you to use what is often your largest asset to maintain the level of independence that you want.

“The first step should be to speak to a specialist adviser who will provide you with support as you consider all your options before finding the right one for your individual circumstances.”

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