Here we go again. Yet another survey – this time by the property website Zoopla – has found that 42 per cent of the over-65s live in a home that is too big for their needs, and that older homeowners have 10 million spare bedrooms between them.
Why don’t we do the decent thing, the survey asks, and downsize, so that families can occupy the homes we selfish old people insist on continuing to inhabit?
My friends and family are always on at me to consider downsizing and freeing up my home to more deserving, younger people.
At the age of 80, why don’t I move to a bungalow in Bicester, they ask, or into a nice retirement complex where I can play bridge and practise chair yoga?
Why should I? Who says that my home, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, is too big?
Ever since King Lear’s daughters ordered him to get rid of his 100 retainers, old people have been bullied into to taking up ever less space, moving to a granny annex in their children’s garden and getting rid of their lifetime’s possessions.
I’m perfectly happy in my fourth-floor Victorian flat in North Oxford, even if I do have to climb up and down 100 steps every day. I can manage them with ease, and I still enjoy titivating my home and keeping it up to date.
If I become incapacitated in the future, there is plenty of space for a carer to live in and look after me.
I can’t be bothered with the upheaval of moving, and culling my books, diaries, paintings and furniture to fit into a tinier place. Nor can most of my friends, many of whom are well over 65.
While we are able, we are staying put in the homes we have lovingly created over
We refuse to be tipped out.