Yes, we need more Homes with Care !

My last blog looked at the demand for more Care Homes.    With the exception of specialist homes for dementia, psychiatric support and small group homes for learning difficulties, I would not agree we need more residential Care Homes.     In my view they create dependency and only offer an institutional lifestyle.

I do accept we need more Housing with Care, to meet the growing need to better support frail older people to continue to live independently.    The Newcastle University study suggested an additional 71,000 older people will need support in the next 10 years.     I suspect the figure will be much larger even than that!

My previous blog suggested that this would need in the order of £15 billion of capital investment to develop around 300 new retirement villages.     That level of new investment by Government is usually reserved for aircraft carriers or ridiculous railways.      Currently all the Nation’s  available capital will be needed to compensate the European Union for Brexit.      So the likelihood of finding investment for older people from the State seems rather remote.

The good news is, older people themselves  have a huge amount of assets locked up in the homes they own.     The options they have for getting the money out of their homes are unfortunately not very good value.     Equity release products are still expensive and come with all sorts of limitations.     Downsizing from a larger family home into retirement housing is probably a better option, but unfortunately most retirement housing offers little more than sheltered housing and emergency pullcords.

If we are to genuinely transform retirement housing to make it an attractive proposition for a large number of people, then we need a much bolder approach which goes beyond retirement housing and offers a much more attractive lifestyle in later life.

If the Government isn’t going to be able to provide the capital, then older people will have to take control of their own resources and use them creatively to buy a new life in older age.

My blogs next week will begin to outline how that can be done.

 

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4 Responses to Yes, we need more Homes with Care !

  1. interesting, very interesting, I must be patient!

  2. davidwfreeman237 says:

    Johndadlovat
    It will be interesting to read these ‘Smiles Grumbles’ blogs in the forthcoming days to see how, where and what John discusses and considers in this ‘Future Care Industry’ of “OURS”.
    My experience very personal to me were firstly of my mum bereft of dad, and the need for housing which was secure, safe, comforting and caring, with a feeling of family belonging! Then Molly and I making the active choice of a life style of a retired couple? The children having flown the nest.
    I have noted two riddles the first is: The care and safety of the surviving parent, what to do and how to proceed. This is as always difficult and a very personal choice. The surviving parent, and you as the child have memories about the family home, besides that odd treasure, or collection of emotive memories. [That wallpaper, carpet, lampshade, those bathroom scales, easy chair and settee-the garden, and the burial plot of a goldfish, hamster or other beloved pet: and more that cupboard full of books, junk and that occasional newspaper cutting, those birthday and greetings cards, the Christmas cards from old family friends, and the family Christmas tree with baubles, some made by the children and grandchildren- the list is endless!].
    How does one move a loved parent away from such memories, which they have, and that you may share in; into a ‘care home’? Maybe one personal room with en-suite, and communal lounge space, and a dining room, both of which to share with fellow ‘’Inmates’’? It is a mind set and a necessary one, if security, safety, help and peace of mind is what one is searching for?
    The difficulty is / was that Mum was adamant that her life with neighbours and friends and most importantly her memories were in that family home! And she was frightened that Dad would be forgotten, and that we as children would not visit her unless she lived in the family home!
    The second is here where I leave my upset mum, with love and burnt in memories of these decisions we had to take as children, and for the wellbeing of Mum, move her into a ‘care home’. It was a very difficult and stressful time for all. I come now to Molly and me, and as these events overtook mum in her late 70’s, (late-1990) and us in our early 60’s. Considering Molly and I we have children and had a family home/house and garden [with pet burial grounds, wall paper, plants grown from seed by the children, cupboards full of memento’s toys, and junk! Plus a garage with a sledge, pots of paint and umpteen tools, and other odds and sods all from our personal memories, plus of course our children, family, friends and neighbours.
    Molly and I together with the children gently reflected in life, and all these memories to ‘What in the future’? At this time 2004 the Extracare Charitable Trust were in ‘town’ promoting the idea of a retirement village, with the backing of the local council, to free up family homes, for the younger generation, by providing one and two bedroom apartments with bathroom, kitchen, sitting room, in a complex of some 260 apartments called a retirement village. WE all as a family, children included followed the ‘’Yellow Brick Road’’ and when we were invited Molly and I had personally come to a decision, based on our experience with Mum, to make our own joint memories in and among fellow neighbours, and like -minded people, for our ‘Golden years’ so that when –‘’Old father time’’- visits, and we become ‘one alone’ we will have adjusted, and made new friends, neighbours, with our families blessing? All a new beginning. We had at the old family home that clearing out to do of cupboards, treasure’s, books and belongings. Some items handed down to the family with what they wished to have, and then with respect and ceremony dump the rest?
    The apartment we have is limited for space, so we just have essentials, sofa, chair, table and chairs, and one china cabinet with three shelves of small treasured mementoes. WE now create memories not from the artefacts but our friends and neighbours, around us, the children may not be able to share in them: However Molly and I will be able so long as we to live in security, safety and love for the rest of our days. The children growing older with peace of mind that Dad and Mum are where they wish to be, with care of a domiciliary type on hand, and for that occasional time when independent living requires support.
    The footnote to this missive is we were unable in the 1990’s unable to find mum and dad a joint
    Retirement home/place? Most of them were ‘warden attended’, and run by the local council, and care homes/nursing homes were for the sole survivor.
    What I hope is that today besides the retirement village concept – [a home for life with independent living], John uncovers some form of care system where those in their later years of retirement can reside as a couple? [Spouses, partners, siblings, live in carer], can over the age of 55 live in safety and comfort with the support they may need.
    It is all a minefield and the investor in property (care home industry) and the prospective residents must realise it will cost, goodwill, and their personal monies
    Ps was John that ‘Snake oil salesman’? I say no! Just a saviour and a visionary.

    • john graham says:

      Thanks David. that is a very good introduction to where the debate on future retirement ought to go. The discussion is as much about creating a new future, as it is about the practicalities of moving on from the past.

  3. Pingback: Community Retirement Villages | GrumbleSmiles

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