Letter to Prime Minister: Make UK a World Leader in Housing with Care

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Posted 29 March 2021

Older people in the UK are living longer – but not healthier for longer.

Together with a coalition of more than 30 charities, older people’s representatives, policymakers, academics, and private sector and civil society leaders, Housing 21 has urged the Prime Minister to take immediate action to expand new options that sit between the traditional care solutions of care homes, and receiving care at home – with there now being “a new consensus that the 2020s need to be the decade of housing-with-care”.

We are delighted to work together with the group to raise awareness and influence new thinking about what’s needed to support an ageing population.

View the letter sent to the Prime Minster

Bruce Moore, Chief Executive at Housing 21 said: "Housing 21 is the largest provider of Housing with Care [Extra Care] for older people and are happy to be lending our support to the letter that calls for greater recognition of the valuable role this type of service can provide to help growing numbers of older people, especially as we come out of the pandemic."

Extra Care and Retirement Living communities complement traditional forms of care delivery and we need to take this unique opportunity to transform healthy ageing, reduce pressure on the NHS and tackle loneliness.

The open letter’s signatories include MPs and Peers from the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP parties and the crossbench group, and leaders from organisations as diverse as Age UK, Legal & General, the British Property Federation, the Campaign to End Loneliness and the County Councils Network, as well as the country’s largest not-for-profit providers of care and support for older people.

This young but growing sector goes beyond traditional sheltered housing and combines independent living for older people with the provision of onsite, CQC registered care, support, and a wide range of communal services and facilities. The sector has successfully shielded older people during the Covid-19 pandemic, improves the health, wellbeing and social connection of residents, and reduces pressure on the NHS by cutting down GP and hospital visits.

These benefits are being recognised by a growing number of older people, with a recent survey of housing-with-care operators finding that 85% had experienced a significant rise in interest compared to the same point last year.

Despite this, just 0.6% of over-65s in the UK currently have the opportunity to live in a housing-with-care development, compared to at least 5-6% in New Zealand, Australia and the US. To meet the changing needs of older people, the letter says that while “proposals for social care funding reform have now been pushed back until next year, we say that expanding social care provision must start now”. This could be done through the formation of a new task force which brings together different Government departments and is able to “join up planning policy, funding (for those with moderate means) and a regulatory framework” to safeguard older people’s interests.

Click here for more information about Housing 21’s development plans and target to create 800 more properties a year from 2021.

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