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Retirement living models Of course, physical property viewings


are not feasible during a period of lockdown. However, extra-care providers can still work around this. At Friary Meadow in Hampshire and


Honeybourne Gate in Cheltenham, for example, we are offering video viewings, which allow prospective buyers to tour the property virtually to determine if it is one they like – all from a safe distance, with no risk – following which we begin the next practical steps if they are wishing to progress. From a longer-term perspective and


outside of the immediate threat posed by Covid-19, the personal benefits are maximised if the move to an extra-care living property is made in a timely fashion. If done before a person finds themselves physically struggling in their old property, the experience can be less stressful and the transition easier making the whole process more worthwhile. It is not just personal independence


that is maintained via extra-care living, but also financial independence if someone is buying a retirement property. With each resident owning the home they live in, this in turn enables them to protect their equity. Something else to consider, although


perhaps less obvious, are the societal benefits offered by retirement properties, and specifically those following the extra-care model. When a person moves in to any sort of retirement property, it frees up their old one. A report for the Local Government


Association has estimated older people occupy 3.3m homes that are now too big for them. If greater numbers of older people opted to downsize, it would have a large impact on the current pressure on new build developments to provide desperately needed homes for an ever- growing population. That societal benefit is something that


is perhaps more pertinent given the current messaging around altruism and working for the benefits of wider society.


According to a report for the Homes and Communities Agency, a person downsizing into an extra-care property could save the public purse about £440 per year on average. Given the huge expense involved in


combatting the coronavirus pandemic – an expense that will need to be repaid at some point – alleviating pressure on public expenditure can even help to constitute as ‘doing one’s bit’.


Protecting the NHS A further point of relevance is that those living in extra-care properties on average spend less time in hospital than those of equivalent age who are living in standard retirement properties, where on-hand domiciliary care support is not present. Subsequently, pressure on the NHS is reduced, an element that is not only especially important during the ongoing health crisis, but also one that is equally applicable once the pandemic eventually passes. The general principle of an extra-care


living model is that residents can live their lives as they have always done, just with flexible support on hand if, and when, they need it. Should a person develop health or


care needs while living in an extra-care environment, help can be delivered more swiftly and more effectively. With a standard level of support built into the service charge, additional help, such as personal care services, can be added if a person finds themselves in need of it. During the coronavirus pandemic,


extra-care also serves to offer an additional layer of protection. Food deliveries and shopping, for example, can be organised by on-site staff, negating the need to leave the property. In the case of Friary Meadow, there is a


wealth of outdoor space in which to enjoy daily exercise without having to worry about others encroaching on your personal space and at Honeybourne Gate, which is a town centre scheme, there is a roof garden.


26 Dr. Stephen Ladyman


Dr. Stephen Ladyman was Labour’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Health, responsible for social care, between June 2003 and May 2005. While in office he promoted the extra care model for retirement living, a model which continues to be promoted by the UK government today. Ladyman is also founder of Oak Retirement - the team behind Hampshire retirement village Friary Meadow and Honeybourne Gate, a retirement development in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.


www.thecarehomeenvironment.com• June 2020


Conclusion Overall, extra-care living offers a multitude of benefits for those who choose such properties as well as society as a whole. Helping to reduce the risks around personal, financial or health- related concerns serves to improve the quality of retirement. The families of those living in extra-care facilities also benefit from peace of mind, knowing that their parent, grandparent or other relative has the necessary support to hand, should they need it. With society experiencing a level of


upheaval not seen since the Second World War, opting for an extra-care living residence helps to provide some semblance of a cocoon, which serves to protect residents from many of the ill winds currently buffeting the UK.


TCHE


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