We are pleased to be in featured in the summer issue of Urban Realm, showcasing our recent involvement in several Extra Care Housing projects across England.
There is a fundamental human need to retain independence in later life which fuels a housing and care revolution which is restricted by an emerging funding gap that threatens an undersupply of affordable housing stock. Babak Sasan, Director at BMJ Architects, addresses an inevitable issue that will affect us all:
"The subject of care for our elderly is something close to my heart, with my father hitting 90 in a few weeks time. Like many others who have lost their friends and companions over the years and find themselves in a decreasing and lonelier social group and finds the ability to keep an active independant life challenging,"
A Nationwide Problem
With around one fifth of the UK population being over 65 and increasing, the challenge of care and housing our older generation must be addressed properly. This is apparent for those who are unable to live independantly or afford residential care homes. This is where the Extra Care Housing model can play a big part in providing affordable homes for all.
Extra Care Housing model (not to be confused wuth a residential care home), is housing with care primarily for the older generation where occupants have specific tenure rights to occupy self contained dwellings with an agreement that cover the provision of care, support, domestic, social, community and other services. Unlike people living in residential care homes, residents are not obliged as a rule to obtain their care services from a specific provider.
This is an emerging market that more developers are recognising an opportunity to build affordable homes and leveraging the expertise of local authorities where there is a significant undersupply of affordable retirement living that will intergrate within their local area. As a for-profit registered provider of affordable housing, developers can extend the range of housing options available to older and vulnerable people and encourage more cost effective models of care to be delivered for sustainable, future proofed homes. This model will also help reduce the cost burden on local authorities to provide care services to their residents.
Opportunity in Urban Rejuvenation
The type of affordable, sustainable and accessible homes that enables residents to live their lives along side each other with dignity are short in supply. These sites, when carefully selected, can contribute to the rejuvenation of town centres and residential areas, providing opportunities for local businesses and an enhanced amenity offering to residents as well as a direct solution to the loneliness epidemic amongst the elderly population. As a main feature, the integration with the local community is built into the ethos of extra care.
It is also believed that by placing these schemes near schools, churches and other local ameneties, it encourages use of common areas like the Bistro and Multifunction Rooms within these schemes. This increases opportunity for multi-generational engagement which have been proven to have benefited the elder generation based on a study by BMC Geriatrics in Japan in 2013. The intergenerational nature provides opportunity to fulfil basic human needs and reintegrate older adults into society.
View our Extra Care Housing Projects here: