Retirement living models

where possible. Covid-19 has shown that the ability to social distance is essential. To help with that, care homes could introduce one-way systems in corridors, much like many supermarkets have done, preventing people from passing face-to-face.

In addition, care homes normally have a single entry and exit for security reasons, but they could consider adapting fire exits to minimise crossover, at times of increased illness. Should it be impossible to enforce a one-way system, then wider corridors can assist in keeping people a safe distance apart from each other. However, in older care homes or converted houses, narrow corridors are common, so they may have to be widened or a ‘one at a time’ arrangement introduced as an alternative. The layout of communal areas might also need to be reconsidered. The most obvious option is to increase the size of the communal space but that would cost a considerable amount of money and provides no ‘income’ to the owner. Greater focus on the design of the communal areas needs thought, such as repositioning furniture to offer better opportunities to allow for effective social distancing.

Such process and layout changes would not only help during Covid-19, they would also be a potential lifesaver during flu season. Yearly flu is another silent killer that can be contracted in the same

way as coronavirus. As a result, adapting care homes for social distancing and isolation will benefit residents now and in the long run.

Uniting the generations

That said, it does not alter the fact that care homes are made up of vulnerable people living in close quarters. The chances of death from coronavirus for those over the age of 80 is 15 per cent, so minimising the number of vulnerable people in a community is a simple way to slow the spread, with younger people less likely to have severe symptoms. Therefore,

a multi-generational alternative to traditional care homes should be explored by the industry.

Multi-generational living consists of a mix of different ages living together on one complex. These complexes can have multiple communal spaces that offer retail, fitness and leisure.

In order to keep them safe for more vulnerable residents, these living spaces would need to be treated in a similar way to care homes. For example, ensuring that people can keep a safe distance away from each other, if needed, and that cleanliness is a top priority. However, that model of living could offer a host of benefits for both the elderly and young people alike.

By creating a community of young and old, a new level of support can be found between neighbours. Among the horrors of this pandemic, we have all seen that the majority of the public are willing to help those in need, whether it be by getting shopping for an elderly neighbour or just being a friendly face.

Multi-generational living offers an alternative that can work in harmony with care homes

July 2020 •

If a supportive community is created on a multi-generational living complex, carers and nurses will be able to do their job without having to worry about whether their patients are safe or have the food they need. A concierge service could also be a notable benefit to those who cannot leave their homes. A further benefit of multi-generational living is the sense of independence that it can instill in those in need of care. That is especially true for those who do not have severe care needs, and so would have only entered a care home because they had no close relatives to support them. Living on a multi- generational complex would allow them


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