With less than a week to go until the Property Week Retirement Living conference [5th November], our attendees Stephen Last and Zoe Hobson, share their views on another busy year in the sector and focus on the trending themes and leading conversations expected at this year’s event.

It is well documented that by 2025, 20% of the UK population will be over 65; equating to 14.3 million people. Currently the over 65s own a combined c£1 trillion of housing equity and it’s clear to see that the sector needs to develop at pace to overcome undersupply whilst meeting the changing demand of occupiers.

We’re also aware that the public image of retirement living needs a makeover. Still today there remains a stigma attached to traditional view of ‘retirement homes’ and those conventional expectations of a senior living scheme. However, with the emergence of ‘resident renewal’ comes an opportunity to reshape rather than restrict later living; indeed, today’s older generation has greater disposable income, better health and longer life expectancy.

So, how do we encourage the sector to embrace later living in more innovative ways?

Zoe comments, “We’ve a busy pipeline of retirement living schemes coming into the studios at seven, predominantly via our long-term client McCarthy & Stone, and our team focus is very much to improve the lives of older people via intelligent design. We’re always mindful of community integration, companionship via creative social spaces and creating a healthy environment both internally and externally to support physical and mental wellbeing, but we are also keen to future-gaze to see how inventive later-living environments can assist both market demand, and a fulfilled resident experience.”

Stephen added, “We are aware the market is far from ‘one-size fits all’. Resident expectations in the UK are now starting to include co-living, city centre dwelling, intergenerational living and also a growing rental requirement. There’s such a variety that operators and the wider industry can tap into to create innovative developments, yet still be economically advantageous.”

With a glimpse to some hugely successful oversees developments, we’re particularly interested to hear the debate by Gavin Stein (Chief Executive and Founder of Elysian Residences) during the conference who is bringing aspirational, US-style senior living to the UK. Hearing how the UK emulate the thriving retirement living market in the US and, importantly, what translates from across the pond and what doesn’t will be a fascinating presentation during the conference.

It’s certainly exciting times in the sector and we’re interested to hear about the latest creative thinking and opportunities afoot to shape the industry.

Attending the conference this year is:

Stephen Last, associate stephen.last@sevenarchitecture.co.uk
Zoe Hobson, associate zoe.hobson@sevenarchitecture.co.uk