Calls for right to suitable housing for older people as review launches to assess shortfall

Professor Les Mayhew to lead a review to identify the level of unmet need for housing-with-care for older people in the UK

Calls for right to suitable housing for older people as review launches to assess extent of the shortfall

  • Professor Les Mayhew to lead a review to identify the level of unmet need for housing-with-care for older people in the UK
  • Review follows sector calls for older people to be able to access housing-with-care if they want it
  • Government task force also seeking evidence to underpin expected new measures


All older people should be able to access suitable housing and care support if they need it according to the body representing the UK’s fast emerging Integrated Retirement Community Sector.


Over recent decades the UK has been failing to adapt to the far reaching changes to society which will result from an ageing population and is exerting huge pressures on the NHS and social care.


Fundamental changes are needed to how we provide care to older people and the housing options available. Care provision needs to focus more on keeping people well, to become more person centred and to be delivered more efficiently.


Thousands of new homes are needed to support independent living and activity and to provide a genuine alternative to care homes, enabling care homes themselves to concentrate on providing complex care to older people with the highest levels of acuity.


By 2038 there will be an additional 5.5 million over 65s in the UK and almost 3 million additional over 75s, both significantly increasing as a proportion of the overall population.


Integrated Retirement Communities are one of the most effective means of doing this by combining independent living with care plus access to amenities on site and in the immediate locality. 


To inform the necessary decisions needed to help expand provision, ARCO has commissioned Professor Les Mayhew and the International Longevity Centre to lead a review into the case for IRCs and the scale of provision needed from now until 2038.


As things stand, current need estimates fail to take into account of the changing nature of the UK social care system or our ageing population. Based on the available evidence to date, it is estimated that somewhere between 200,000 and 1,500,000 new units will be needed over this time. The Mayhew Review will be devising a model and seeking evidence to go much further and to develop the most robust figure possible.


ARCO is inviting sector stakeholders, investors, operators, academics and older people themselves to submit evidence to the Mayhew Review to inform this work. ARCO will also be gathering evidence and holding meetings itself to inform the Review’s work.


Les Mayhew is head of global research at the International Longevity Centre – UK and professor of statistics at Bayes Business School, City University, London.


Professor Les Mayhew said:


“We know that there are hundreds of thousands – possibly millions of older people across the UK who would like, a some point in their lives, to be able to access housing-with-care – but so far no one has undertaken a thorough analysis of just how many older people there might be in this category. The Government is right to be prioritising this sector but policy can only be developed effectively based on research.


“The potential for this sector is huge – and it could transform the UK’s social care landscape, as well as supporting wider housing policy. I am delighted to have the opportunity to undertake this vital research and would welcome contributions from all stakeholders.”


Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO said:


“For the levelling-up which the Government and its White Paper have promised to really mean something for older people it has to mean that wherever you live in the UK, you will be able to enjoy your retirement, to maintain your independence and to access the support you may need as you age.


“In far too many parts of the UK this is not an option – whole swathes of the North and Midlands of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales lack good housing-with-care options for older people.”


“That’s why we are calling for older people to have a right to access this support if they need it.


“We are delighted that Professor Les Mayhew has agreed to undertake an authoritative review of just how much unmet need there is out there. This review and its conclusions will have a profound effect on Government policy and help to secure the quality of life of many more older people in the UK so that as we age as a society, we can look forward in hope to a happy, independent and secure retirement.”





For further information please contact: Gareth Lyon, Head of Policy and Communications, at or on 07535 088498


- Notes for Editors-

What are Integrated Retirement Communities?

Integrated Retirement Communities, otherwise known as housing-with-care, offer older people the opportunity to live independently in their own home as part of a wider community. Lifestyle, wellbeing and care services are available to support people’s independence and aspirations. Integrated Retirement Communities are run by a range of not-for-profit and private operators, with two-thirds of the sector being affordable or social rent. 

How are these communities integrated?

Apartment homes are available for purchase, part purchase or rent, alongside a range of choices:

  • Integrated Lifestyle: Facilities like restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas, community halls and gardens offer optional activities and social opportunities
  • Integrated Well-being and Care: Personal and domestic care can be delivered within people’s homes if they wish.  Dedicated staff teams are on site 24/7
  • Integrated with Wider Communities: Connections with wider communities through family, friends, intergenerational, volunteering or leisure opportunities are valued and cherished

Associated Retirement Communities Operators (ARCO) is the main body supporting Integrated Retirement Communities across the UK, setting standards for the sector, and representing the interests of consumers and providers at national level.