Older people in rural communities face perfect storm of disadvantages

Older rural people suffer from the lack of affordable housing as much as a lack of access to social care, poor public transport and slow or non-existent broadband. In response, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Care for Older People has today launched an inquiry into housing for older people in rural communities.
Speaking today at the CLA’s rural housing summit, Lord Best (co-chair of the APPG) announced the new inquiry, Rural Housing for an Ageing Population: Policy Initiatives.

The nation’s villages are getting older every year, as young people and families leave and the proportion of older people increases. A quarter of the 11.4 million people living in predominantly rural areas are now over 65 years old – that’s 2.8 million people.

The inquiry will bring together peers, MPs, housing providers and other rural organisations to consider recommendations to ensure that older people in rural areas can enjoy appropriate housing and access adequate care and support at home.

In a letter to the Telegraph, co-chairs of the APPG Lord Best and Peter Aldous (MP for Waveney) said: “Housing problems in many rural areas are at a critical level and older people living in rural communities may suffer extra disadvantages if they need additional support.

“Transport costs limit access to social care. Council funds are in short supply. Inadequate public transport – and, indeed, broadband connections – and closure of services such as rural post offices, shops and pubs only exacerbate the problem further for older people.

“We would be delighted to hear from anyone with views on this urgent issue.”

Sue Chalkley, Chief Executive of Hastoe Group, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this important inquiry which will encourage joined-up thinking to help find innovative solutions to the challenges faced by older people across the countryside.

“Hastoe is passionate about rural areas and we must work towards ensuring that everyone in our rural communities has access to good quality and affordable housing.”

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