As well as protecting residents during the pandemic, these changes could also be brought in at the height of flu season, potentially reducing its transmission and deadly impacts.


Even with new layouts and processes, care homes are still not an ideal environment during a breakout of disease, with so many vulnerable people living in one space. As a result, to slow the spread of COVID-19, and other infectious diseases, amongst the elderly community, it may be wise to take a multi-generational approach to care in future.

Consisting of residents from a range of different age groups, multi-generational living complexes oſten combine supported and independent living accommodation, with other elements such as retail, fitness and leisure facilities. As with care homes and any other communal areas at present, these would need to have measures in place to keep people safe when illness is high. However, this model of living provides many more benefits, for young and old, when compared with a traditional care home.

A community of all ages can create a level of support that can be rare to find in other residential settings, with neighbours able to get shopping for those in need from the onsite facilities or just knowing that there will always be someone nearby to chat with. As well as this, for those who are unable to leave their homes, due to illness or self-isolation, a concierge service could be of real help.

These complexes also give the elderly a renewed sense of independence and people who may have only entered a care home because they had no relatives to support them can instead look aſter themselves, safe in the knowledge that someone is close by if needed. Staying social and maintaining that level of confidence is essential for the prolonged mental and physical wellbeing of elderly people.

BUILD-TO-RENT POSSIBILITIES The build-to-rent model is fairly new as a concept, but it

holds the key to making multi-generational living possible. Generally aimed at the younger generation, build-to-rent sites consist of high-quality apartments specifically for the rental market. They also include fitness and leisure facilities, retail units and even cinemas.

With each new site, build-to-rent offers more and more for residents, utilising the latest technology and trends to ensure it is as attractive as possible. The better the site, the longer people stay, making these schemes a lower-risk option for developers due to longer lengths of tenancy compared to more conventional developments.

However, these complexes could also be ideal for the elderly, providing easy access to a host of facilities, 24-7 security, and a hassle-free alternative for those who no longer want to maintain a purchased property.

Multi-generational living even has the potential to make the job of carers more straightforward if those who need lower levels of care move to one complex. With thorough organisation, care providers could see multiple individuals in one trip, saving time and resources. Partnerships between complexes and care homes could even be formed, ensuring elderly residents have access to support and a simple route into a more traditional care setting, if necessary.

As long as new developments can be made accessible throughout, with wider doorways, liſts and higher electricity sockets, elderly residents will be able to live comfortably and independently alongside younger renters.

Build-to-rent and multi-generational living cannot solve every issue within the care industry, but they are promising routes to consider. There will always be space for dedicated retirement living, however having an alternative for those still capable of looking aſter themselves is vital to the wellbeing of the UK’s elderly population. - 27 -

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