Hawke's Bay can expect to gain 1000 new pensioners every 12 months for the next five years, and with pensioner flats here already full up, Age Concern says some "outside the square" thinking will be needed to cope.
Statistics New Zealand figures show that in 2013 there was about 26,200 people aged 65 or over in Hawke's Bay. However, Stats NZ estimates that to rise to 30,900 over the coming year - and then by a further 5000 by 2023.
That would bring the region's pensioner population to 35,800 but retirees in both Napier and Hastings are already faced with long waiting lists to get into council-owned affordable accommodation units.
NCC community strategies manager Natasha Carswell said all council-owned housing in the city was occupied, with a waiting list also in effect.
"We have 304 retirement flats and 72 low cost rentals (1,2,3 bedroom).
"All of our units are currently allocated.
"We have 75 on our waiting list for retirement flats and 147 on our waiting list for low cost rentals. "
In addition to that, demand was increasing, occupancy rates were high and turnover was low.
Retirement weekly rent was based on a percentage of superannuation - $105.80 for a single person and $160.20 per couple at present.
Low cost rental rent was based on the size of the flat - 1 bed $153.90, 2 bed $191.05, 3 bed $215.60
There were no plans in place to build or acquire more housing.
"However, we are aware of the demand now and into the future and are looking at our options in this area."
There are no available places at any of Hastings District Council's accommodation units.
"The council has 220 one-bedroom units, with rents ranging from $111 to $142.
Two are vacant at present, but only for refurbishment. Tenants are due to move in as soon as the work is completed", a council spokeswoman said.
"There are no plans on the books to build or buy more at this stage."
Accommodation units were for seniors only; 55 years or over with preference given to over 60s.
There were also maximum asset and income thresholds and applicants must be on a permanent benefit (ie NZ Super/assisted living) to qualify.
Latest data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment reveals that median weekly rent for one bedroom flat in Napier and Hastings is $230-a-week, and $167-a-week in Central Hawke's Bay and Wairoa.
Age Concern Hawke's Bay manager Deborah Gibbs said it was time to start planning better to cope with a rising population.
"We have had older people contacting us asking about what other accommodation options there are in Hawke's Bay because they have tried the council and heard there is a waiting list.
"We have also heard of older people living in motels until accommodation is found for them. Many cannot afford the market rents now, so cheaper accommodation such as Council flats is their best option.
"It is time to think outside the square and maybe time to look at Abbeyfield type housing, or relook at Homeshare, which ran for four years in Hawke's Bay, housing which is safe and helps avoid loneliness."
However, planning for an ageing population needed a coordinated approach from many organisations.
" I don't think it is just up to Councils to plan better, I think a coordinated approach is needed, there are so many issues that will arise as our community ages - for example, are there enough health professionals?"