A new report has found that the majority of over 55s believe their current home is not suitable for any future care needs and face major bills to adapt their houses.
The report, ‘Tackling the Care Question,’ from equity release adviser, Key, reveals that over-55s would prefer to stay in their homes if they need care; 47% would want to be in their current home while another 28% would want to be in a more manageable home or sheltered accommodation if they need care. Just 5% would expect to live with family members while just 4% would opt for residential care.
However, just 21% of those over the age of 55 believe their current home is suitable for their needs if their health declines in later years.
38% admit their homes need work to make them suitable for later life living with the average bill for improvements averaging just over £8,000. Those in Scotland (£7,320) believe that they will need the least to age proof their homes while those in the South West anticipate paying the most (£9,197).
Potential improvements being planned include installing a wet room, or stair lift, or improving accessibility. However nearly a third of those expecting to make improvements plan to spend more than £10,000.
Key’s Q2 2020 Equity Release Market Monitor reported that the proportion of housing equity spent on home or garden improvements fell from 17% (Q1 2020) to 14% (Q2 2020) due to the current coronavirus crisis. However, ‘age proofing’ a home remains a popular choice for many people who take out equity release and 59% of customers spend some of the money they release on making their home more functional and comfortable for themselves as they age. Key’s data shows the average amount of property wealth released was over £74,000 per person enabling customers to tackle a wide range of financial issues.
Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “The vast majority of people want to receive care and support in the familiar surroundings of their own home but only one in five people believe that their home is suitable if their health does decline as they get older. Indeed, flights of stairs, a big family bathroom and a multi-level garden might be incredibly desirable for a growing family but tougher for an older couple to manage.
“Over-55s estimate that they need to spend in the region of £8,000 to ‘care proof’ their current home with those in Scotland spending less and those in the South West needing to budget more. The need to make these changes may feel like a long way off for those early in retirement but it is important to consider whether your current home could work for you as you get older, otherwise it may be worth exploring other options including a move to a more suitable property.
“How you finance any changes to your property as well as any potential care needs requires careful consideration, so speaking to a specialist financial adviser about all your options is important.”