David Halpern, a senior No.10 aide, said loneliness was a “more powerful predictor” of whether a pensioner would be alive for more than a decade than whether they smoked.
He also suggested that elderly people who did not move to smaller homes were contributing to the shortage of housing in England.
Ros Altmann, director general of the Saga over-50s group, said: “It’s outrageous social engineering for the government to suggest that older people somehow don’t deserve to live in their own homes and that the government should decide what size home is appropriate.
“Working longer is inevitable but we need to be very careful in raising the state pension age to recognise that there are substantial differences in life expectancy across the country.”
On an official visit to Sweden, the Prime Minister and some of his key advisers discussed radical plans on retirement with their Scandinavian counterparts.