Property guru urges people to spend more time with the elderly

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The face of so many daytime property programmes, Amanda Lamb has longbeen a favourite with the retired generation. The bubbly presentersupports Age UK, and explains that she’s always had an enormous amount of respect for her elders. However, she’s concerned that the elderly generation tend to get forgotten in today’s fast-pacedsociety.

“Age UK have released statistics that three million people are on their own, one in four over 65s doesn’t see anybody on a daily basis and we kind of forget that,” she says. “Just having somebody to say, ‘would you like a cup of tea?’ or to have a chat with, to just sit and watch TV with someone; if you’re on your own you don’t have any of that.”

Lamb recalls her own nan being alone a lot after her grandfather passed. “My mum did what she could but she was working, and [Nan]found it incredibly lonely and incredibly isolating.”

The issue of loneliness is something we tend to forget until the situation arises.

“It just makes me very sad to think that there are people out there who are on their own.” Lamb suggests that stopping for a chat with elderly neighbours and showing a friendly face can make a real difference.

“It’s little things like that, we’re all so busy running around like lunatics that we sometimes forget that there are people out there.”

And while there are people in their 90s still running marathons, Lamb reminds that getting older can lead to troubles with mobility, and at some point the issue of independent living may need to be addressed.

There are many property options when it comes to elderly loved ones - from granny annexes to sheltered housing - and property savvy Lamb reminds us that, “anything that adds square footage or morebedrooms or more space will always add value to a property”.

“I used to film a programme called _My Flat Pack Home_ and one of the things I found a lot of people doing was building little self-contained cottages at the bottom of their gardens and that used to work really well,” says Lamb. “I’ve also worked with people where elderly parents who have a big house have bought the family back in and they’ve all lived in it together.”

Property prices have been an issue in the UK for some years now, and Lamb reminds that Britain’s property ethos is very different from our European neighbours.

“For me it’s quite an odd thing in this country - how people are utterly obsessed with owning property. When we were filming _A Place in the Sun - lots of people in those countries just rented, it was never, ‘You’ve got to buy a house.’”

But ‘Generation Rent’ doesn’t appeal to everyone.

“It’s very difficult these days. I was talking to my brother the other day and his rent for a studio flat was more than my mortgage and it’s wrong - something needs to be done. The government needs to look at it because it’s very unfair that there are so many young people who can’t get a foot on the property ladder.

“ They can’t afford to save up for the deposit because the vast majority of their disposable income each month is going on their rent. So something definitely needs to be done.”

When it comes to the government’s Help To Buy scheme, Lamb says that, “anything that can encourage and help people to move onto the property ladder is a good thing, but I think again for anyone thinking of embarking on any kind of investment in property you need to make sure you can afford to do it.

“I think that’s one of the reasons we got into the trouble we got into, because everybody was going for these self-certified mortgages,you know, five times your annual salary and at some point the bubble had to burst.

“ So I think the Help to Buy scheme is a good thing as long as you can do the sums and you can afford to pay it all back and take into account it’s not just the mortgage, it’s everything else that comes with that.”

Britain’s housing market might make home buying a burden, but our love affair with property programmes is far from ending.”

Just why do Brits love them so?

“I think it’s because we are all totally and utterly obsessed with property. I think we’re all inherently nosy and we all love having a good old nose around people’s houses and we’re all obsessed,” says Lamb. “I think it’s going to continue and continue and continue. I don’t think property will ever not be fashionable.”

lArticle courtesy of The Interview Hub.