Last week’s article - Family home in the pension assets test: What do you think? – led to a number of passionate responses from our members.
We weren't surprised. The last National Seniors Social Survey found that 70% of respondents did not believe the family home should be included in the Age Pension assets test.
Home ownership is something older Australians value highly. And so is remaining in their home as they grow older.
Your home is your financial and emotional security. It’s somewhere you feel comfortable and in control. It’s something to feel proud of.
The thought of relinquishing your home is certainly not top of mind.
Many members tell us “they’ll have to take me out in a box!”
There’s one problem: many of our homes are not suited to us when we get older.
The upkeep on a quarter acre block with multiple bedrooms and lack of accessible design features becomes increasingly burdensome as we creep towards our 90s.
Everyone is different, but in general, we need to adjust our living arrangements.
This is especially true for those who live alone or have no family nearby.
National Seniors has advocated for better downsizing options for older Australians and will continue to do so, with your support.
Our research suggests that downsizing is most likely to occur in our 50s and 60s, with the task of changing to a more humble abode less likely as we get older.
Unfortunately, age-friendly downsizing options are limited, when they should be increasing across the nation.
Not everyone wants to relocate, live in a retirement village or to move into a medium rise apartment block.
We can’t let developers choose how we live.
Efforts to create more accessible housing have failed. This is because the standards are voluntary.
Only 5% of new housing is likely to be accessible by 2020, when the original target was for 100% to be built to a minimum standard by this time.
If we applied the same voluntary logic to the speed limit, imagine the chaos.
We must get creative and push developers harder to incorporate design features and housing options that suit older Australians.
Government can also play a role by promoting alternative housing that keeps people independent, but close to amenities, care and support.
We can’t have older Australians suffering in an environment that does not suit their needs, or which they have been forced into.