“Bungalow Metaphor”

This blog follows on from “Bungalow Mindset” which you can find by clicking on “Retirement Housing” in the TOPICS LIST.

A survey by Halifax Building Society recently found that bungalows were the most popular image of a home in retirement.  It has been my experience too, in the thirty years of building and managing retirement housing, that the survey accurately reflects people’s first thoughts IF they are forced to move. But, is it the right choice or the ONLY choice.

Certainly bungalows enshrine some real retirement aspirations – it’s independent housing with light, no stairs, less rooms to clean and usually a small garden to maintain.  It is a good option but a relatively expensive one, given the high value of land.  It is a “rocking chair on the porch” image of retirement, that sounds good to start with until you consider living alone in a climate too cold for all year round outdoor living.

Bungalows are bound to be the preferred choice, when the alternative is downsizing to a small flat in a high-rise block where the lifts break down and the neighbours above you have noisy kids.  Worse still is the dreaded move to a single bedroom in residential care.  This is not necessarily the reality of retirement flats or of all residential care but it is the image of housing in later life most older people have experience of.

We need to lift retirement housing to a new level which embraces the aspirational bungalow but does not thoughtlessly copy it.

Level access, high space standards, good outlook and external private space can all be achieved on and off the ground in HAPPI standard retirement housing.  Equally importantly you can still sit on your porch at times but also have the option of company and support from like-minded neighbours as you choose.

I was writing about this subject over a year ago, you can see the post “Move to a smaller house” by clicking in the ARCHIVE on January 2012.

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2 Responses to “Bungalow Metaphor”

  1. The media circus and the political discussions this week (Tuesday!3 Nov 2013) appeared to be centred on I, D, Smith’s Bedroom Tax and down sizing. The political idealologies appeared to get tied up in knotts about those disabled (Excuse the wording) and on benifits, and thoise also on benifits, fo other reasons,
    They appeared to tie three problems yet together and then have one common resolution to the problems.
    Diabled living alone at home etc this is a complex picture, the question is does the support go to the individual who is disabled or their guardians-Who gets what and the beniifit of financial aid?
    The bedroom tax appears to attack directlt according to the political speakers the social housing sector(Council house tennents), and brings us to the beliefs into what is a reasonable fammily accommodation. My recollection of Bedfordshires housing for new builds was 2 reception, two and a box bedroom, kitchen and a common bathroom (!500Square feet min of floor area) has that changed. This is/was suitable for a growing family. In retirement then the single spouse would move at their own behest to a smaller OAP Accomodation, to see therir final days out?? Yes/No???
    The current climate of austerity as it always was what of the childeren when they began adults over (21 the old age of consent for marriage), how do they cope when incomes and the pension prospects do not allow one to plan for the future and invest in property to live in(Dwell In Independent of Mum and Dad or Mum or Dad), so they are to some extent forced to live at home or buy to get on the housing market a one bedroom flat/studio flat ect! The builders have until now flooded the market with single, one bedroom condimimiums, which now the political classes are saying should be for the elderly. So how does a coucil plan socially for the future??
    The elderly in the private or rented sector apparently occupy homes they can afford and move when economics ditate-avery erudite way and cruel way of saying you pay for what you get. People in this sector are two fold:
    1 those who are truelly independent of the state and can afford to be free of benifits and ,
    2 those supported on state benifits, who have found that social or coucil housing is in appropriate or non existant. This again is a complex picture. However we are still talking of I belive a 2 bedroom accommodation at most- which is I believe sociallly acceptable.
    The elderly in rambling family housing Larger than the 2bedrooms and a box (1500Square feet), are finding i suspect life difficult in converting their property from a family investment to funds for every day during retirement and for old age, living stly and down sizing a non starter as the new younger generation can not move out of either their starter home or upsize due to the austerity of the modern day.
    All this and people with money who have become buy to rent landlords is a very confused picture, and by giving handouts and benifits to those deserving of them, does not and cannot solve the housing market, neither can the council become the broker for all housing needs. The tax regime requires a good basic look at and review. We do not have now in the UK the large employer of the masses with altuistic views and deep pockets of looking after its workforce like caburys or Titus salts, something has to give and the old Labour/ conservative voting and political beliefs have to be modified to accommodate the new young and the old retiring brit!!!
    We cannot employ Europe and solve all her problems of the needy or unemployed, and yet we need to manufature and sell to servive.
    Another Ramble, but I have enjoyed ir!!

  2. apologises for my misplaced key strokes and english grammer. I just hope the main thrust of my missive has been understood by all who read it.

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