Latest news from the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub
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Better housing options for older people

It's been great to see so many celebrations right across the city region for International Older People's Day on 1 October. It was also an opportunity to launch our new report 'Rightsizing: Reframing the housing offer for older people' funded by our partners the Centre for Ageing Better and carried out of the Manchester School of Architecture.

The research showed that a lack of suitable homes sees older people staying put until a crisis forces them to move. It calls for  UK local authorities, planners and developers to shift their emphasis from downsizing to “rightsizing”, when it comes to planning housing provision for older people. “Rightsizing” is described as an older person’s active, positive choice to move home as a means of improving their quality of life.

It was great to see the report being picked in the media and prompting discussion in the context of the UK housing market meeting the needs of consumers. It's also evidence that our housing and planning group is using as we work towards the objective in the GM Ageing Strategy of increasing housing choice to promote social connections and wellbeing in later life.

Thanks for your support,

Paul McGarry
Head, Greater Manchester Ageing Hub

The deadline for the next newsletter is 9 November, please send your copy to 


Consultation on GM Local Strategy

The consultation on Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy is now open. As part of these discussions, the Ageing Hub is working with colleagues at GMCA to make the case for the opportunities presented by an ageing population. Freelancer Jason Bergen is working with us for a few months to better articulate the socio-economic case of ageing in place and age-friendly neighbourhoods, and the economic opportunities and innovations around ageing in Greater Manchester. 

The consultation is inviting feedback from everyone with an interest in Greater Manchester's future growth and prosperity, including businesses, business representative organisations, universities, colleges and schools, the community and voluntary sector, and residents. The views will help the Mayor of Greater Manchester, the Combined Authority, and the Government to shape the future of the city-region’s economy, by specifically looking at:

  • What the main focus of our local industrial strategy should be
  • What our globally competitive strengths and main growth assets are
  • What support is needed to grow the economy
  • How we ensure all residents can access opportunities
  • How we capitalise on the opportunities created by global changes such as decarbonisation and digitalisation

GM Local Industrial Strategy consultation survey (approx. 20 minutes).

GM rightsizing report - one size doesn't fit all

New research from Greater Manchester shows many older people are staying put until a sudden crisis, such as divorce, eviction or failing health, forces them to move. The ‘Rightsizing’ report, commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority and funded by Centre for Ageing Better, looks at the types of houses older people live in across the UK, the sort of house moves they make, and the reasons why.

Despite common assumptions that most people want to downsize or enter specialist accommodation as they age, today’s report reveals that when it comes to choosing a home, older people are motivated by the same desires as other age groups. For example, wanting more space for guests, moving to a nicer area, and better access to green spaces.

For these reasons, the report calls for UK local authorities, planners and developers to shift their emphasis from downsizing to “rightsizing”, when it comes to planning housing provision for older people. “Rightsizing” is described as an older person’s active, positive choice to move home as a means of improving their quality of life.

Key findings:

  • Older people on low- and middle-incomes are finding themselves trapped in homes which are no longer appropriate for them as they age
  • Despite common assumptions, most older homeowners in the UK don’t want to downsize or enter specialist accommodation
  • Local authorities, planners and developers need to shift their focus to “rightsizing” by delivering better, diverse housing options that are accessible to everyone, regardless of age

The research reveals that many over-50s cannot move home in the way that they would like, due to a lack of suitable housing options and inadequate provision of support and advice. Just 3.4% of people over the age of 50 move home each year, which is half as many moves compared to the rest of the population.

Just 7% of UK homes meet the most basic accessibility standards, yet many older people still refrain from moving until a sudden crisis, such as worsening health, eviction, or divorce, means they have to.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Thanks to devolution we have the opportunity to do things differently here, and I believe we can make Greater Manchester the best place in the UK to grow older. To succeed we need to make big changes at a strategic level – not just on housing, but also health, social care, transport and employment.

“Research like this and the work of the Ageing Hub within our Combined Authority has helped position Greater Manchester as world-leaders when it comes to research on ageing, and I urge policymakers to capitalise on this expertise we have available.”

Rightsizing: Reframing the housing offer for older people

Age-friendly taxi training launched 

The Levenshulme Inspire Taskforce in south Manchester have launched an Age-Friendly Taxi Training programme. Inspire developed the awareness training after listening to older people's feedback and first-hand experiences of using taxis.

Taskforce organiser Lou Armer said, "When the taxi drivers came in for a first look at the training, it was lovely to see how well they got on with everyone. They offered real insight into some of the situations we were exploring and we could see that they genuinely care about their customers".

Launched to coincide with International Older People's Day on 1 October, the training has got off to a great success with recent coverage in the Manchester Evening News. The internet-based training is free to all taxi drivers. A certificate will be provided upon completion, which will signify a greater awareness of older taxi customer's requirements. You can now view and complete the training online.

Further information: 0161 850 5717.  


Tameside launch 'Take a Seat' 

Tameside Council’s Population Health team have launched the ‘Take a Seat’ campaign at the Golden Harvest Event for International Older People’s Day. This is the latest in a series of roll outs of the campaign across Greater Manchester which aims to ensure local traders and business owners make their premises more age friendly, providing accessible seating and an improved shopping experience for older people.

Businesses are also encouraged to display clear signs, store items within easy reach, and keep floors clutter-free. Tameside Council Executive Leader and Greater Manchester lead for ageing Councillor Brenda Warrington, said: “We’re delighted to be promoting this scheme in Tameside, which will help shoppers and businesses.  We want our town centres here in Tameside, and across Greater Manchester, to be welcoming, accessible places for everyone. By keeping physically and socially active, we can all stay healthier and independent for longer.

“This scheme will help older people feel able to leave their homes to socialise and interact with others and have a better quality of life. It’s just one of the many strands of work taking place in Greater Manchester through the work of the Ageing Hub, which is supporting the Mayor in his ambition to make Greater Manchester a great place to grow older.”

Participating shops display an Age Friendly sticker, which indicates that an older person is welcome to go in and take a rest on a seat, ask for a drink of water, or use the lavatory. To date, more than 300 businesses across Greater Manchester have signed up to the scheme, which has received a positive response from older people, local traders and business owners. 

Further information:

Stockport Silver Learners  

Stockport Council has been part of an European wide project looking at exchanging best practice ideas around adult learning for older people. The two year Erasmus+ project funded through the European Union examined ways of reaching and teaching older people and looked at competencies and learning abilities of older people. There was particular focus on communication for and with older people and further education on everyday life focusing on the use of ICT. 

Stockport’s element of the project was around health with a focus on dementia including how Telecare keeps people independent and at home longer. A workshop was delivered in Stockport by the local EDUCATE group, people living with dementia who raise awareness and inspire others to live well with dementia.

Further information: ERAMUS+ Silver Learners project


Event: AFA Social Infrastructure: how shared spaces make communities work

Seminar from MICRA at The University of Manchester

Wednesday 7th November 2018 2:00 - 3:30 pm

St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, M12 6FZ. Book your place online here.

  • Sophie Yarker, MICRA, University of Manchester

Our social infrastructure - the shared spaces and public places that form a part of our everyday lives - are often overlooked, yet are a crucial part of our communities on many levels. This seminar looks at some of the recent policy and academic thinking around social infrastructure based on a selection of findings from Sophie’s recent research work with older volunteers in Wales.  Sophie will also be asking delegates about how they use and experience the third places in their own neighbourhoods, as well as discussing how these spaces might be better supported generally.

Event: The impacts and benefits of treating hearing and vision problems for people living with dementia

Seminar from MICRA at The University of Manchester

Wednesday 22nd November 2018 1:00 - 4:00 pm

St Peters House - Oxford Road Manchester M13 9GH. The seminar is free to attend, please register here.

  • Professor Iracema Leroi
  • Emma Hooper
  • Nisha Chauhan.

Hearing and vision impairments cause difficulties with daily living activities for people living with dementia and impact on communication.  The SENSE-cog sensory intervention is currently being tested as a therapeutic approach, comparing outcomes for those who undertake this new treatment versus those who receive care as usual.  

Event: Age-friendly rural areas

Seminar from MICRA at The University of Manchester

Wednesday 19 December 2018, 2.00 - 4.00 pm

Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6FH Book your place online

  • Anne Harrison, Healthcare Sciences, University of Manchester

This seminar focuses on a research project which aimed to explore and document what people over 60 in the Upper Calder Valley think is important in creating age friendly rural communities. Participants were trained in photography and research methods and took photographs which represented aspects of their local surroundings that were, or were not, age friendly. Analysing the data, participants identifying 12 themes, which covered the ageing process, local characteristics of the Calder Valley, social connections, and services and amenities. Dissemination of the project to local people and local and regional policy-makers was through a series of photographic exhibitions and an illustrated report. This presentation will give an overview of the project and its findings with contributions from some of the participants who were involved.

About us

The Greater Manchester Ageing Hub brings together universities, public and private services, and GM citizens to improve the lives of residents as we age. Based at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, we coordinate a strategic response to the opportunities and challenges of an ageing population. Our vision is that older people are able to contribute to and benefit from sustained prosperity and enjoy a good quality of life, and that Greater Manchester becomes the best place in the UK to grow older. Creating an age-friendly Greater Manchester is priority 10 of the Greater Manchester Strategy. | @GMAgeingHub | #AgeFriendlyGM
Core team:
Paul McGarry, Head, GM Ageing Hub, GMCA
Jo Garsden, Programme Manager, GM Ageing Hub, GMCA
Dr Mark Hammond, Programme Manager, GM Ageing Hub, GMCA
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Greater Manchester Combined Authority
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