Talking about the issues that affect older people is what we do at the Hornsey Pensioners Action Group and last month the topic for discussion was downsizing.

At some point in later life, many older people think about moving to accommodation that is more suited to their current and future needs. This often involves downsizing and can be prompted by many factors including health issues, a desire to live closer to family, or to live somewhere more inviting such as the seaside or countryside.

Asking yourself the questions ‘why?’ and ‘where?’ is a good way to start the process and being creative with your answers can help to capture what is most important to you as an individual.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box - if you own your home, it may be possible to convert it into two flats, live in one and rent out the other. Or even rent out your home and live in a hotel!

HPAG members shared some of the challenges they had personally faced. For example, the emotional experience of leaving a home which holds precious memories and disposing of treasured possessions.

Ham & High: Susan Critchlow is aware of the challenges of downsizingSusan Critchlow is aware of the challenges of downsizing (Image: HPAG)

Moving home is considered one of the most stressful life events - legal issues, estate agents, removal firms, not to mention setting up everything in the new place: utilities, security, insurance, connecting appliances... the list goes on.

You don’t have to relocate to downsize, but if you do there will be opportunities to make new friends; this may require both time and effort. The ultimate reward of downsizing is that you find yourself living in a home that is more suited to your needs and your well-being is improved and maintained.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2021 reported that “The highest percentages of underoccupancy were found in households where all the residents were aged 65 and over with 86.1% in England and 90.2% in Wales.”

Despite this statistic, and being in the midst of a housing crisis, there are still too few incentives to downsize. It would be good to see government support for those downsizing as well as for those buying or renting their first homes.

Susan Critchlow is a member of Hornsey Pensioners Action Group ( or contact