99% of people don’t want to live in a care home, so isn’t it time to review the options?
By guest blooger Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley Retirement Villages
In recent weeks both Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, and health secretary Jeremy Hunt have criticised the UK’s existing model of care. Hunt claims he would not send a relative to live in a nursing home, while Stevens hopes they will cease to exist in 30 years.
I would agree that the current UK care home model is failing to meet modern realities as we live longer and more independently. Our research has shown Hunt and Stevens aren’t alone – 99% of people would not choose to live in a care home. While there is a place for purpose-built, great quality care homes that meet high dependency needs, we must ensure living options for older generations put ambition first, delivering independence and choice.
The older generation has, on the whole, the financial resources to choose where and how to live. 31% of adults aged 65 and over live in households with total household wealth greater than £500,000, while 10% live in a household with wealth greater than £1m.
They have undoubtedly benefited from a boom in the housing market, gold plated pensions and sensible investments. Currently more than 20,000 people in the UK live in retirement communities, which allow independent living, freedom from maintenance worries and flexible care on site if needed.
The UK has seen a growing demand for an alternative option of later living properties and the market continues to expand. The people of this generation want to live independent and dignified lives, something the existing care home model fails to deliver.
Instead the UK needs to support the growth of retirement villages that allows people to remain in a property they own, in control of their finances and lives, and receiving dignified, individual care as needed. In tackling these issues and providing more choice for older people, we have the chance to improve the living standards and options of every generation, and redraw the future UK care and housing map.
- – The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.