Billions needed to make homes suitable for aging population: elderly, healthcare organizations

Handrails installed in a bathroom
Handrails installed in a bathroom Photo: ake1150sb/DepositPhotos

Municipalities in the Netherlands are far behind in creating enough homes suitable for the growing group of elderly people, according to research by organization for the elderly ANBO and organization for healthcare entrepreneurs ActiZ. Nationally over 13 billion euros are needed to adapt or create homes in which people can grow old well, the organizations said, AD reports.

According to the organizations, it will cost 7.7 billion euros to adapt homes that are already close to facilities for the elderly, such as healthcare, support, and accessible catering facilities and shopping centers. Another 6 billion euros are needed to create suitable homes for elderly who want to relocate due to a lack of such facilities.

There is already a shortage of tens of thousands of elderly-suitable homes and around 15 nursing home places in the Netherlands, according to the organizations. More and more elderly people are ending up in trouble because municipalities are not preparing to cope with the aging population. 

ANBO director Liane den Haan describes the situation as dire, according to the newspaper. "The market is completely locked in many municipalities. Or there are few facilities. The route to the nursing home is now also clogged. And then elderly would not be willing to relocate." A major problem is that adjusting homes for the elderly is just "not sexy" enough for local governments, Den Haan said. "They all want to start large real estate projects .That is short-sighted. Because crisis situations arise: people who fall, who end up completely disoriented in the hospital, and for whom there is no place at all in a nursing home."

"The number of elderly people living at home will double in the coming years, and with it the need for care and support", Rick Hogenboom of ActiZ said to AD. "We see many good examples of neighborhoods that are becoming 'age proof', of courtyard- or retirement homes 2.0. But it is not going fast enough."