Following three years of research and development, including discussion with consumers and policy makers, ENGIE announces its new over 55s LIFEstyle product, designed to address the older person’s housing and care crisis across the UK.
The product was in development through Keepmoat Regeneration, which is now part of the ENGIE Group, and the combined expertise of infrastructure to shape places and the provision of services has allowed the company to bring the LIFEstyle offer to market.
There are currently two million subpar homes in the UK that are occupied by older people; and avoidable incidents in the home costs the NHS an estimated £624m per annum. ENGIE believes the majority of existing homes are not designed for old age, feeding into the wider housing and social care issues the country is in the midst of.
There are just 7,000 annual completions of purpose built new homes for the older persons market, but research identifies that to keep pace with current demand, there would need to be 60,000 new homes delivered for the over 55s each year alone.
This distinct gap in the housing market place is ‘unsettling’ according to ENGIE, who says the industry is failing a core proportion of society by focusing too heavily on first-time buyers, especially when the population of over 65s is set to increase 33% by 2020.
The company is responding to the voice of older people who are looking to plan for old age or move out of the family home, as it’s too large and expensive to run; which will subsequently release family homes into the second-hand market.
Paula Broadbent, Retirement Solutions Director for ENGIE, explained: “We know from our consumer research that there is an appetite for right-sizing instead of downsizing. Consumers want flexible, care ready homes and we are incredibly proud to introduce LIFEstyle and to be bringing an innovative new product to the market. For years we have been collecting research, intelligence and investment to support us to deliver the right product and services, which will deliver a long-lasting and positive impact for the whole country and we are committed to continually engaging with consumers to build on the products and services we provide.”
ENGIE has already launched its first project in Walton in Wakefield (CGI of the development pictured above), which has gained support from the local authority thanks to the investment it is making in this area. The company has also secured four further sites across North Yorkshire, Nottingham and Derbyshire, with many more in negotiation across the UK.
The LIFEstyle developments will provide an environment, which is focused on providing choice, control and peace of mind through a combination of lifelong, purpose-built, easily adaptable and energy-efficient homes. The developments also have optional on-site support services and are built in carefully selected locations to maximise the lifestyle available for those planning to enjoy and get the most out of retirement. Residents can either customise their homes as they need when they purchase or make adaptations later in life.
The homes are intelligently designed to provide level access, high quality functional space and are digitally enabled to provide peace of mind for the future. Customers can customise the layout and functionality of their home from new or easily add equipment or make adaptations retrospectively to ensure the property is just right for them. For example, walls can easily be removed, and two-storey homes are ready to accommodate a through floor lift, plus bathrooms have wet room foundations making it easy and more cost-effective to convert if required.
Additional services are available on a pay as you go basis in the form of gardening, domestic services, handy man, window cleaning and even dog walking — all organised and managed by the LIFEstyle Co-ordinator; while a community club house provides the opportunity to socialise and attend activities driven by customers’ individual lifestyles.
Paula added: “We have invested considerable time, effort and money to get us to this position and now we are part of the ENGIE Group — which provides transformational services across the public, private and healthcare sectors — we are in an even stronger position than we were previously to deliver this product and make an even greater difference in the communities in which we operate.
“This is an exciting new venture and we anticipate that by the end of year one, we will have a robust pipeline of more than 10 new LIFEstyle developments, all of which will play an important role in reducing the strain on the NHS from poor quality homes for the mature market and inject life in to the local economy.”