We look to our habitations, our physical bases, to at least provide shelter, warmth, and safety. At any age, when our home is also right for us, our mental and physical health and the quality of our lives are enhanced.
Currently in the UK there is insufficient age-appropriate accommodation for the older population, either available or being built, (and) especially in rural areas. This has consequences for the wellbeing and longevity of our senior citizens.
Many of the older folk around Westleton would like to stay in the area, as they have built up a strong network of friends and interests over many years. But there is nowhere nearby for them to 'right size' to, and so they have had to choose, either to remain in properties that may now be too large to manage comfortably, and that are expensive to heat, perhaps with stairs, bathrooms and large gardens that have become problematic; or else to move to bungalows or flats in towns where they do not enjoy the same connections.
Essential in any provision of housing for the elderly should be planning to avert the loneliness and isolation to which some can fall prey, impacting on their wellbeing and mental health
The right home environment can:
⌂ Protect and improve health and wellbeing and prevent physical and mental ill-health; ⌂ Enable people to manage their health and care needs, including long-term conditions, and ensure positive care experiences by integrating services in the home;
⌂ Allow people to remain in their own home for as long as they choose. In doing so it can: » Delay and reduce the need for primary care and social care interventions, including admission to long-term care settings;
» Prevent hospital admissions;
» Enable timely discharge from hospital and prevent re-admissions to hospital;
» Enable rapid recovery from periods of ill-health or planned admissions.
Key features of the right home environment are:
⌂ It is warm and affordable to heat and has adequate ventilation to support good air quality and thermal comfort in extreme conditions.
⌂ It is free from hazards, safe from harm and promotes a sense of security;
⌂ It enables movement around the home and is accessible, including to visitors;
⌂ There is support from others if needed.
⌂ Tenure that is stable and secure
We want to offer locals over 65 years old a new choice that will enable them to live
independently for longer in their own homes, and socially, in their own community: with a supportive environment, and well-designed, easy-to-heat-and-maintain homes. Those
planned at Glebe Meadow will be fully accessible and will adapt to the changing needs of
their residents, including facilitating social care provision if and when the need arises.
As the understanding of the role housing can play in keeping people healthy, happy and independent and preventing ill health or injury improves, the strong economic case for investment in age appropriate housing will become even clearer. Until this penny drops, making headway with a project such as ours over the financial and administrative hurdles will continue to be uphill work.
Related links -
Glebe Meadow is a Community Interest Company established to buy the former Vicarage in the heart of Westleton and convert it into the social hub for a new development of 20 modern, age appropriate homes for locals aged at least 65.