Why we always aim for forever homes
There is no getting away from the fact that we are getting older.
This should be seen as a positive, rather than the negative it often is. You only need to think of the alternative to realise why. Redrow always considers the UK’s changing demographics to continue to provide the right type of housing for our long-term needs. Long-term needs that lead us towards our forever homes.
The UK’s population is getting bigger and older. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics put the population in 2017 at 66 million – the highest ever. The report goes on to say that it is forecast to grow to around 73 million by 2041.
One of the reasons the population is increasing is because we’re living longer. The research shows that 18 per cent of us are 65 and older.
These figures make a huge difference on our housing. A rapidly growing population needs a lot more places in which to live. As the population ages, the type of housing we want also changes. More and more of us need to think of elderly relatives as well as growing families.
There are many reasons why we grow out of starter homes. One of them is that we continue to accumulate long after our basic needs are met. Upgrades and additions are the norm. We resist throwing away as much as we buy. So, in time, the home we had thought of as ‘ideal’ becomes a little cramped.
Having children exacerbates the space issue. Children need bedrooms of their own. They need space to accommodate the things they accumulate.
While this greatly simplifies the reality, it does illustrate our move towards bigger homes. Somewhere that meets our new needs. Somewhere we want to stay in for at least the foreseeable future.
Forever homes for the whole family
This is where forever homes come in. Forever homes tend to be more spacious: they can cater for all the things growing families accumulate.
Space is often right at the top of the list of priorities for forever home hunters. This is the time we really start thinking of others as much as ourselves. We think about the number of bedrooms we need for the whole family. We may also want more than one bathroom, because we remember the queues for the shower in the morning!
It’s not unreasonable to love the idea of a bonus room: a place kids can call their own. Some of us also consider space for an elderly relative to move into. This may be in a spare room or in a separate building within the grounds of our forever home.
What Redrow does to make it your forever home
At Redrow, we consider all these factors and more before developing a new site. It’s the kind of thinking that led us to work with the alkiki Community Interest Company, which helped with our plans to create developments that are distinctive, accessible, comfortable and safe – creating inclusive environments that are positive for everyone and also can assist people with dementia to get around.
People with dementia often find it more difficult to navigate. Our developments are designed to help them. They do this by using a variety of landmark tools that can help people identify routes. These symbolic and distinctive tools can help those living with dementia to understand where they are and their direction of travel.
Our familiar, distinctive, accessible, comfortable and safe developments
We use a range of carefully combined materials, colours and textures for the same purpose. For example, a distinctive chimney pot or bay window may be enough for some people to orientate themselves.
Our simple, well-connected, gently winding street layouts, with uncomplicated road junctions, also ease navigation.
Older people can experience visual agnosia, which means they find it harder to distinguish colours. This is why we use plain signs with large, dark lettering against a light background. Our flat, wide footways, with gentle ramps, help people who use walking aids. And our controlled road crossings make the roads a little safer.
In summary, places that are dementia-friendly are familiar, distinctive, accessible, comfortable and safe. Incorporating such characteristics within our developments makes people more confidence they are investing in a home that will continue to meet their changing needs. Forever.