Torbay Council supporting the elderly through housing

LGA housing adviser funding secured Housing LIN consultants to carry out qualitative research on the housing aspirations of older people in Torbay.

Housing Advisers Programme case study

2018/19 cohort

The findings highlighted that people in Torbay from all tenures seek quality, well-designed accommodation as they age, with a significant proportion preferring to remain in their own homes.  It found that information/advice on housing for older people is lacking and demonstrated that for owner occupier’s availability of realistically priced housing designed for later life is limited. The research has informed Torbay’s Plan for Housing in Later Life, encompassing design, support and technology to create age-friendly housing and neighbourhoods.

The challenge

Developing an evidence base, including an assessment of the demand for additional extra care housing, on which to base a strategy for housing in later life.

The solution 

The research highlighted that meeting the housing aspirations of older people in Torbay requires an approach that enables development of both specialist housing for later life and housing and neighbourhoods that are suited to people across the life course. Designing homes and places that facilitate social engagement, intergenerational contact and technologically enhanced care are key elements of the new approach. The focus groups highlighted that improving the advice and information available to people on their housing options as they age could play an important part in meeting older people’s housing aspirations.

The impact 

The research has informed the development of a Plan for Housing in Later Life that is the focus for community engagement and will be the basis of the Council’s Strategy for Housing in Later Life going forward.  The research has also informed the Council’s market strategy for adult social care and detailed design guidance for extra care housing.  It provides a more finely grained analysis of specific housing needs to inform the Local Plan review and an evidence base for an SDP and guidance for developers/investors on housing for later life in Torbay.

How is the new approach being sustained?

Adoption of the Plan for Housing in Later Life and development of SDP. Work to secure funding for a project to improve housing advice/information services on housing in later life.

Lessons learned

That to focus on one element of housing for later life, such as extra care housing, is not enough if the Council wants to really encourage the development of housing that meets people’s aspirations and preferences.

Engaging with older people on housing has given rise to the expression of a wide range of views/aspirations/preferences and the policy response needs to go beyond labelling certain housing as suitable for older people, thinking instead of making housing and neighbourhoods age friendly across the generations.


Bryony Stevens

Links to relevant documents: see attached.