Housing provision

A land model for the future provision of elderly care

It can be difficult to know how to prepare for the future, but we do know that it is essential that we begin discussing how we will deal with later life care needs, says Stephen Collinson, managing director, Ryhurst

With the advancements in healthcare technology and medical innovations alongside what we now know about healthy living and wellbeing, diagnostics, drugs and new forms of treatment, we might be forgiven for thinking that later living is the best it has ever been. However, there are currently 9.9 million people in England (and 11.8 million in the UK) aged over 65 years and this number is set to rise by 20 per cent over the next decade; the number of people aged 90 or over is predicted to almost double over the next 10 years.1

As a society, we’re living longer and are more independent and active than ever before, making an extended contribution to the workplace as average retirement age continues to rise. However, it seems that the longer we live, the more likely we are to develop chronic health conditions and long term complex conditions, such as dementia.

Even with the advancements in healthcare and medication, long term chronic diseases such as heart disease and adult onset diabetes persist. These conditions are manageable with the right medical intervention but chronic diseases can still impact significantly on quality of life and place a financial burden on health and social care provision.3

The growth of the elderly population means the nature of and demands on health, housing and social care provision will continue to change and we know that the next generation of care facilities must look very different to the infrastructure and services we are familiar with today. Already more than two-fifths of the NHS budget is spent on those aged over 65 years.2

Opportunities for socialising in the courtyard at Hazelhurst Court, Lewisham Care provision

There is continued growth in demand for assisted living and domiciliary care as an increase in life span means we are living with a growing number of health conditions. There is also pressure related to all aspects of later living on authorities that find themselves with a legacy of facilities designed to cater for a different set of health and social care needs. The way in which care is delivered has changed; nursing homes are now caring for people who may previously have been receiving acute care. Therefore it follows that facilities need to be able to adapt as individual needs change; for example, adapting bathing facilities and lowering cupboards for someone who has developing mobility issues. The focus must be on individualised design, which is key to helping us all as we grow older. Technology is developing rapidly in all sectors including healthcare. Digital care solutions in the care environment can

November 2018 •

assist with monitoring medication, care planning and in some cases room to room calling that helps support social interaction. Electronic medication administration record (EMAR) systems also support staff in the control and delivery of medication.

Monitoring offers an increased sense of security and reassurance to staff, friends, family and residents that the highest standard of care is being provided. Analysing data provided by sensors that offer continuous or on demand monitoring, video conferencing and smart building networks will enable us to live at home or independently for longer. However, given the financial

constraints on the health system and the ability of the housing market to deliver the homes we need with limited land available, a mind set change is needed in terms of how we use buildings and land assets to deliver care and more appropriate living environments that


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