Later living communities and social care reform.

We need later living communities to help meet the needs of our population and reform social care.

COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the social care sector. There are currently 10.2 million people over 65 living in England with the number of over 75s set to double in the next 30 years (ONS).

With this comes increasing need for better social care as we continue to live longer. We need to create environments where people can thrive, live healthier and independently for longer and enjoy a high quality of life.

The relationship between housing and healthy ageing must be acknowledged. The pandemic has brought into laser focus the importance of our homes to our wellbeing. Being able to access suitable housing can act as the key to healthy ageing, reducing the burden on services and impact on the NHS.

According to ARCO “the proportion of households where the oldest person is 85 or over will grow faster than any other age group by 2037 where a projected 1.42 million more households” will exist in the UK.

Providing a choice in later living options, we enable people to make informed choices about their future and how they age as well as provide the opportunity to identify and address issues before they become long term problems.

Guild Living aims to provide a holistic approach to healthy ageing working to address the wellness needs of individuals whilst meeting their housing and care needs.

Guild Living man walking - later living social care reform

If retirement communities really do help people to live healthier for longer, prevent the need of hospital admissions and removal from homes that are no longer safe – why is it that only 0.6% of over-65s in the UK live in a retirement community?

In ARCO’s latest report Planning for Retirement this stage is referred to as “leading to a cliff edge” when an individual is forced out of their home due it being no longer suitable.

But what if we could create environments where this risk is minimised and, in some cases, completely removed through later living communities specifically designed for ageing in place?

Could the problem lie also with the lack of unawareness of later living options on offer but also with the case that in some areas the options are extremely underwhelming?

By creating options for people rather than a one size fits all model that we currently see we can encourage the likelihood people will plan for their future. In turn, helping people to remain independent for as long as possible knowing that the care they may need is readily available.

Guild Living communities will be accessible to the local community to create a vibrant environment where those that live there can engage with the wider community and help to tackle the issues of loneliness and isolation as we age.

The ARCO report Planning for Retirement states that the housing-with-care sector accounts for 75% of the planned increase in housing for older people.

Guild living later ivign social care reform Older couple walking in street

So the later living sector is booming but how can we ensure that the barriers faced when developing such housing so that we create communities that can offer support as options that people will want to choose?

Planning for Retirement explores further how to overcome barriers faced through recommendations on planning, models and needs made by ARCO and the CCN which include:

1. Establish a comprehensive government task force Review on meeting the current and future housing and care needs of people as they age in communities and the economy

2. Use consistent language to describe ‘Retirement Communities’

3. Designate a new planning use class for Retirement Communities

4. Introduce annual inspections of Retirement Communities built under C2R

5. Establish a framework for more collaborative arrangements strategically in two-tier local authority areas

6. Set up a Health and Housing funding pot to support the development of Retirement Communities in two-tier areas

7. Local planning authorities should consider including policies within their local plans that outline the current and future need for older people’s housing and care, including Retirement Communities

8. Raise awareness of Retirement Community models

9. Capital funding and land provision support for initial builds by Housing Associations and local councils

10. Allow local planning authorities to count Retirement Community housing as double against delivery targets

11. Support all councils in county areas to take the opportunity presented by bringing together all health and housing partners to improve residents’ outcomes, led nationally by CCN and DCN working together


To read the full report from ARCO and CCN on later living and social care reform, including case study examples, click here.