Thousands of homes will be built over the next three years and will be funded by an additional £76 million a year.
The houses will include specialized features to support their tenants including:
- Individual home with their own front door
- flexibility to adapt or install equipment or assistive technology in the home
- varying levels of personal care and support to residents, including access to GP or other health services
- communal areas (for housing for older people)
The fund is run in collaboration with Homes England for schemes outside London, and the Mayor of London for London-based schemes, who will implement the programme.
Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said, ‘No one should have to go into a residential home or get stuck in hospital because of a lack of specialised housing adapted to suit their needs. This programme provides a vital lifeline for some of the most vulnerable people in society to live their own lives in a home that works for them.
‘We want the fund to be used to its maximum potential so more homes can be created, more quickly, ensuring that thousands of people are supported to live independently in their own homes, benefiting both them and their carers.’
Nick Sanderson, CEO at Audley Group said: “Recognition of the benefits of accommodation that facilitates independent living as people age is welcome – but long overdue. In 50 years’ time, we’re likely to see an additional 8.6 million people aged 65 years and older. That’s a population roughly the size of London and these growing numbers are already weighing down heavily on a struggling healthcare system. Research from the International Longevity Centre has found accommodation of this kind is associated with a lower uptake of inpatient hospital beds, so this should be an absolute priority. However, we should also be looking far beyond traditional ‘care homes’ when considering the addition of spas, hairdressers and beauty salons. Retirement villages go one step further, allowing downsizers to own their own home, enjoy access to these facilities and access flexible care as health needs change. They cater to the demands of an increasingly discerning baby boomer generation, and don’t compromise on quality. It’s clear that more specialist retirement housing is needed, and the onus is now on government and providers to focus on this sector and give older people these aspirational properties