Reinventing the retirement home FT 27/06/19
Properties for the over-65s have a chequered past but the business model is undergoing a makeover
The financial model for retirement homes is being reinvented as the sector strives to leave behind its past problems, including a litany of complaints about escalating service charges, high exit fees and falling property prices.
Legal & General, the insurer, is planning a swath of new developments while traditional retirement housing developers such as McCarthy & Stone, the UK’s biggest developer of retirement properties, have tackled contentious issues such as exit fees and problems with resale. Renting a retirement home is also becoming a more popular option among older residents wanting to free up capital for other pursuits such as travel.
Virtual Visits - How Finland is coping with an ageing population. The Guardian 26/06/19
Online lunch Clubs are the start of a remote care revolution to reduc the spiralling costs of caring for older people.
Claire Turner, director of evidence at the Centre for Ageing Better, believes... “If you can remotely check in on somebody, see how they are, remind them of medication, that feels like a good and practical solution [as it] enables more time for home visits for people who need physical support,” she says.
She adds: “Social contact is the stuff of life. That’s what is important to us as human beings and it doesn’t change as we get older. If part of the goal of this is to encourage people to have more contact with others who share interests or values, than that’s a good thing.”
26th June 2019 New Government Guidance issued - Housing for older and disabled people - Guides councils in preparing planning policies on housing for older and disabled people.
Life begins at 60 — the rise of the ‘Young-Old’ society FT 3/4/19
As we live longer, healthier lives, the worlds of work and leisure are on the cusp of radical change
Almost without noticing, we have created an extended middle age. “The ‘Young-Old’ are very active and healthy and productive — totally different from 30 years ago,” says Professor Takao Suzuki, professor of gerontology at Tokyo’s JF Oberlin University, who defines Young-Old as 60 to 75 — or older. “The World Health Organization defines ‘old’ as 65: but as gerontologists, our main concern is with the ‘Old-Old’, who are very different”
According to the Harvard Business Review, older entrepreneurs have a much higher success rate than younger ones. The average age of founders of the highest-growth US start-ups is now 45, or 47 if you remove social media companies. The carmaker BMW boosted productivity by 7 per cent, and saw absenteeism fall from 7 to 2 per cent, when it created a production line for skilled workers over 50 and improved conditions in consultation with the workforce.
...The value of wisdom and experience can show up in unexpected ways. As one of just a handful of psychiatrists in Zimbabwe, Dixon Chibanda realised that he and his colleagues would be unable to provide enough mental health support unless they identified and trained counsellors who could work in the villages. The most effective counsellors turned out to be grandmothers. They had the three qualities Dr Chibanda valued most: listening skills, empathy and an ability to reflect. Astonishingly, a study showed that the patients who received six one-to-one therapy sessions from the trained grandmothers had a lower incidence of depression and anxiety after six months than those who had experienced standard care....
A number of studies around the world have identified exercise as the single most powerful predictor of whether we will age well. Researchers at King’s College London who studied two groups of endurance cyclists — those aged 55 to 79 and those in their twenties — found the two groups had very similar immune systems, strength and muscle mass. They could not tell how old the cyclists were by looking at the physiological data, only by their physical appearance....
Read the rest of this article based on ‘Extra Time: Ten Lessons for An Ageing World’, by Camilla Cavendish published by HarperCollins on the FT website by clicking on the link above
Rupert Lawrence, The Community Housing Group
Take Malcolm from Evesham. He has dementia and is prone to getting confused – and lost – on trips to the shops. He’s even been known to hop onboard a random train. The unpredictability of Malcolm’s behaviour meant stress and anxiety for his family. That was until they began using GPS to track Malcolm’s movements. If he strays outside a ‘geo-fence’, both the telecare team and his family are alerted. Malcolm doesn’t need someone chaperoning him but without this technology he would probably be in residential care.
Malcolm’s story is a great example of the power of assistive technology, something I believe passionately in....
Housing LIN 12/4/19
Blog post by Trisha Lawrence on the dilemnas facing us all -
"I’m a 65 and a half year old orphan. I’m a widow, retired and artistic, which means I can play all day at what some might call being a textile artist and I love it...."
Do I buy into some sort of gated older people’s community where everything is seamlessly available depending on my needs and preferences? Or do I stay in my downsized home and hope that I’m one of the 90% of people who never need supporting?
...And the costs are not just financial: when it comes to wellbeing, those living on their own report lower levels of happiness and higher levels of anxiety than those living with a partner and no children.
The Guardian recently reported that more than 1 million people aged over 65 without children were “dangerously unsupported” and at acute risk of isolation, loneliness, poor health, poverty and being unable to access formal care.
Dr Aideen Young, the evidence manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, whose State of Ageing in 2019 report focused on this issue, said: “More people living alone has implications for people’s cost of living, the type of housing they need, and the kind of care and support they might need in later life, in the absence of help from those they live with.”...
...Driving, of course, is not free. The average household pays roughly $9,000 / £6,500 a year in costs related to car ownership such as petrol, depreciation, tolls, insurance, maintenance, and parking charges. But driving often seems free because most of these costs are hidden on a per-trip basis....
In a new building wedged between the sea and a power station in north-west Helsinki, a closely watched experiment in elderly care is taking place. A group of about 30 people aged over 60 are eating dinner at a housing development called Kotisatama, whose facilities include two saunas, a roof terrace and an exercise room for circuit training and pilates. But there are no staff. Kotisatama is a community house in which both single elderly people and couples live together and share the chores. “The main purpose of this house is to keep us active,” says Leena Vahtera, a 72-year-old resident and chair of the project. “This is not a nursing home.”....
Finland has switched from prioritising institutional care of the elderly to trying to keep them at home for as long as possible. Prof Vaarama says this is good but only if they get sufficient care: “There are a lot of complaints that they do not have enough personnel, they just do 15 minute visits.” She adds that simple policies such as better physiotherapy at home could keep couples together and stave off loneliness, which is becoming an increasing problem.
That was the thinking behind Kotisatama, where 83 people — with a median age of 72 — live in 63 apartments. There are 18 couples, four single men, and the rest are single women. Each week, groups of six take turns to cook and clean. “It keeps our heads and legs in good condition. It’s better to get old together,” says Ms Vahtera. She adds that the residents are well aware that resources are limited at both local and national government levels: “In the long term, buildings like this save them money.”
The lesson from Finland may be that trying to make health and elderly care costs sustainable involves the types of political choices few governments are willing to make, raising questions about long-term economic growth and the health of public finances for increasingly cash-strapped governments across Europe.
Re-imagining homes for seniors - choosing priorities
Why you’ll live healthier, longer in co-housing
Sue Lantz has a message for boomers: we need each other, especially now as we age. We need to offer help to each other — and we need to be able to receive help. And, the key question is how and where?
Yet, there’s a problem. “Boomers tend to be very individual oriented,” she notes. “We cherish our identities as individuals, which we equate to independence”.
“But you’re deluding yourself if you think you’re not going to eventually need help during your older years. The question is, who will you depend on?”
Lantz founded the consulting organization Collaborative Aging a few years ago, and is at work writing a self-help book aimed at boomers who want to consider their preferences and options.
“I’m trying to bring some light to collaborative models of aging, including cohousing,” she says. If you look at the costs of housing and care and our increasing longevity, it’s very clear that something has to give.”
Dependence or independence is not either-or, she suggests. “If we can accept the concept of interdependence, as in cohousing, for example, then we actually gain autonomy.” In other words, although it sounds paradoxical, we preserve our independence best by living in a place that allows us to easily give and receive help”.
Lantz notes that an abundance of research suggests that seniors who live with other active seniors enjoy longer, healthier lives. She points out that choosing your company wisely can have a big impact on your aging experience.”
“There’s abundant research to show that peers are the biggest influencers of our choices and behaviours, such as managing chronic diseases that arise with aging. So if you want to live a healthy life, why not situate yourself among people who you think share these values? And then enjoy each other and influence each other in a healthy way.”
That’s where cohousing comes in. “People need to be deliberate in their plans and choices about where they locate and who they locate near.”.....
12/10/18 Rightsizing Report: Reframing the housing offer for older people Despite common assumptions that most people want to downsize or enter specialist accommodation as they age, this report reveals that when it comes to choosing a home, older people are motivated by the same desires as other age groups. For example, wanting more space for guests, moving to a nicer area, and better access to green spaces. For these reasons, the report calls for UK local authorities, planners and developers to shift their emphasis from downsizing to 'rightsizing', when it comes to planning housing provision for older people. 'Rightsizing' is described as an older person’s active, positive choice to move home as a means of improving their quality of life.
25/9/18 - housing LIN - "Incentives and barriers to co-living in later-life" by Nick Henley, Cohabitas
Humans are not used to living alone. Always communal beings, advancement of the species has been characterized by our ability to organise, to communicate and to look after each other... So the challenge of living alone presented to a large and increasing number of people who live in single-person dwellings (around 30% of all households) is a new experience and therefore a new stress for us...What's more, for the millions of older people living alone this is far more of a stress. Most would have grown up in a time and a place where they were familiar with communal living of some sort; many in families, some in multi-occupancy homes, most with relations living nearby and continuing to live in their local neighbourhood...
The future will see people join together to enjoy ‘later-co-living’ properties where people age 50+ can live comfortably for a reasonable rent and over an extended period. Ideally those properties will be built within local communities, rather than away from the neighbourhoods in which people have lived most of their lives.
Residents will be among like-minded people as well as have a ‘place’ of their own. They would be living like humans have for many years – together.
14/09/18 Do housing interventions improve health outcomes? Dr Andrew Furber, Public Health England...
Tony Dennis, a 62-year-old security guard, is a city of “sociable loners”. Residents want to get to know each other but have few ways to do so. Tonight, however, is different. Mr Dennis and a few
dozen other locals are jousting at a monthly quiz put on by the Cares Family, a charity dedicated to curbing loneliness.
The competitors are a deliberate mix of older residents and young professionals new to the area. “Young people are increasingly feeling disconnected too,” argues Alex Smith, the charity’s 35-year-old founder. He hopes that nights like this will foster a sense of belonging....
FT 10/9/18 - Which technologies will underpin the smart cities of the future? Range, cost and speed will determine the best tools for each job "The world of dumb objects from rubbish bins to water pipes is about to become smart. We are on the brink of a communications revolution, with the potential impact almost as great as the introduction of mobile phones and the internet. Connectivity in 21st century societies will be completely different, says Rupert Pearce, chief executive of the satellite company Inmarsat. “We’re moving from person-to-person voice centric networks, to machine-to-machine data centric networks.” In the so-called smart cities of the future, urban infrastructure will be interconnected; networked devices will be everywhere, from buses and cars to streetlamps, all linked to networks via the internet of things (IoT). Roads themselves will be online. Water and power grids will have smart sensors. All this should make our urban spaces more efficient and convenient, less polluted, safer and more liveable.....Real time rain prediction..pollution monitoring sensors...energy generation and consumption tracking tools... Optical fibre connectivity for ultrafast broadband offering faster internet speeds to enable residents to esily chat face to face with their friends and relatives in other areas, access their doctors va High Definition video conferencing...
Inside Housing - 'More than half of older people would consider living in bungalows' a new survey reports 20/8/18 An increase in the number of bungalows being developed could help deal with the shortage of specialist housing for older people, a new report has claimed. A YouGov poll, commissioned by retirement house builder McCarthy & Stone, found that more than half (54%) of people aged over 65 would consider moving into a bungalow. More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents to the survey also said they would support the building of bungalows exclusively for the use of older people. The number of single-storey homes being built in the UK has dropped from 26,000 in 1986 to 2,600 in 2017.A House of Commons select committee report on housing for older people, published in February 2018, called on councils and developers to look into building more bungalows, but planning rules tend to favour higher-density projects.Clive Fenton, chief executive of McCarthy & Stone, said: There is an urgent need to build more suitable housing to meet the different needs of those in retirement, and bungalows must play a key role. Though they were a dying breed, bungalows are making a comeback and are hot property.“As the UK rapidly ages, more and more people want to downsize from their large family homes to a bungalow, which is smaller, easier to maintain and offers independent living. In doing so, they free up homes for the UK’s younger generation, and also keep older people healthier and happier for longer. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
By people’s late 80s, more than one in three people have difficulty undertaking five or more activities of daily living unaided. Installing aids and adaptations into people’s homes, such as grab rails and level access showers, can improve the accessibility and usability of a person’s home environment, maintaining or restoring their ability to carry out day-to-day activities safely and comfortably.
The Guardian, 5/5/18
Academics have found increasing evidence that happiness through adulthood is U-shaped – life satisfaction falls in our 20s and 30s, then hits a trough in our late 40s before increasing until our 80s.
An Inquiry established by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Housing and Care for Older People has concluded that older people's housing is neglected in rural areas. 30/4/18
The report makes a number of 'rural proofing' recommendations to increase the quality, supply and range of more appropriate age-friendly housing. It suggested an adaptation of the HAPPI principles when designing new homes for older people in rural areas, noting that new housing could preserve independence for older people and save NHS and social care funds.
Demonstrating the Health and Social Cost-Benefits of Lifestyle Housing for Older People This report, commissioned by Keepmoat Regeneration / ENGIE and prepared by the Housing LIN, sets out the case for developing specialist retirement housing for people aged over 55. It collates the research evidence and good practice of the reported benefits of this type of accommodation together with the savings to the public purse where they apply.
Our thanks to -
Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for providing us with 2 days support for training and setting up https://www.esmeefairbairn.org.uk/
and Plunkett Foundation for managing this. https://www.plunkett.co.uk/
The Dunwich Town Trust for their early contribution to our set up costs http://dunwichtowntrust.onesuffolk.net/
Marshall Hatchick for providing their services relating to negotiations over our option and purchase contract pro bono http://www.marshallhatchick.co.uk/
Suffolk County Council for their continuing support
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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.