4. Promoting ‘Improve or Move’

There is an excellent track record and progress across Greater Manchester supporting people to think earlier about their choices in later life living, without having to reach crisis point. We want to work with partners to coordinate this support and bridge any gaps in the offer.

‘Improve or Move’ will influence people to think earlier about their home in later life. It may offer specific hand-holding and financial support to move or adapt current homes. It should be promoted widely and enable people in mid and later life, housing providers, health and social care networks, local authorities and care and repair agencies to coordinate the current support available.

This will include actions to:

  • Continue to develop our understanding of ‘Improve or Move’ decisions in mid and later life and the type of information and platforms that will positively influence behaviour.
  • Champion ‘Big Conversations’ post 50 for planning for later life housing, challenging households to consider a ‘checklist’ of questions, such as whether their existing accommodation meets their needs or whether it could be adapted, whether they think they should rightsize and when they think that should be.
  • Consider the potential to reimagine the familiar home improvement agency or care and repair model, as a potential key mechanism to bring together and develop the services and support available to older households in all tenures. This could include working with people to scope out what a practical offer to ‘Improve or Move’ may look like, considering the current barriers, the resources required and our approach to its development.
  • Work with stakeholders to co-produce, prototype and test how to enable people to improve or move financially through the existing and new financial products and support.

The Greater Manchester Older People’s Network (GMOPN) is a growing network of older people and organisational representatives, with over 350 members across the city region. In 2017 GMOPN produced a Housing Manifesto. One of its recommendations was that older people, “need access to free, independent and impartial advice about … housing options”.

To take action on this recommendation the GMOPN Housing Group are conducting housing options research to evaluate the current breadth and quality of information available to older people across Greater Manchester. With funding from the British Society of Gerontology (BSG) and engagement from Dr Sophie Yarker (Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing, University of Manchester), Dr Mark Hammond (Manchester School of Architecture) and Care and Repair England, this project will contribute to the ongoing housing and ageing programme led by the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub.

Elderly woman in yellow sweater standing at front door

5. Celebrating homes and neighbourhoods that enable people to live well in later life

We are committed to resetting the conversation about people in mid and later life to, ‘valuable not vulnerable’. This means recognising that older people are citizens, who are diverse, who want choice about where and how they live and have a wide variety of tastes and demands. We want to create a ‘buzz’ around this conversation, promote, recognise and reward delivery through communication and brand development including:

  • Developing a shared digital engagement strategy, that offers a central resource and platform to share Greater Manchester best practice, showcase projects and schemes and be the ‘go-to’ place for practitioners.
  • Actively promoting this work across each of the local authorities and at a Greater Manchester level, including through the recognition of the Age-Friendly Housing Charter.
  • Promoting opportunities for debate and discussion, innovative thinking and sharing good practice for example through roundtable discussions and events.