99% of people don’t want to live in a care home, so isn’t it time to review the options?

Posted on August 11th, by geoff in CT blog. 4 comments

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.

4 responses to “99% of people don’t want to live in a care home, so isn’t it time to review the options?”

  1. Daniel Casson says:

    Please stop quoting the 99%figure – it is not fair and keeps the ball rolling downhill for those who want to see the end of all care/nursing homes. Ask the right questions: Would you prefer to be long term isolated in the community or in a care home? Would you prefer to be in hospital or a care home?
    Care homes do have to change – to develop into places of community and wellbeing – promoting wellbeing and reablement where appropriate.
    The product offered by Audley Homes is beautiful, it creates a rarefied atmosphere for those that can afford it. The greater question is how to provide quality care with a community feel for all – dare I suggest that charity and non-profit groups hold the key.

  2. Alan Firth says:

    I have never heard as much bollocks in my life.

    Mr Sanderson needs to get in the real world. He sounds like a snobby public schoolboy twit who has never seen a council house or a two up and two down semi worth £80,000.

    Mr Sanderson should come to places like Tameside and see the harsh reality of life. We all don’t have houses in Belgravia, you know, or live in Ilkley. For some people a good quality, decent care home is the safest place they will ever get to being loved and cared for as they enter their most vulnerable period of their lives.

    Mr Sanderson should wake up and smell the coffee. The vast majority of people in this country don’t even have £50,000 of equity in their homes let alone £500,000. So stop using the Caring Times Blog as a way and a means of advertising your business and if you are going to quote facts about the wealth of this nation and its inhabitants then look also at those who don’t have the means to buy their care in some fancy retirement village or £1,000 a week care hotel and tell them what options they have – because believe me, 3 x 20 minute visits a day via some agency is far from enough or adequate or of adequate quality.

  3. Nick Sanderson says:

    Always good to stimulate intelligent and rational debate well argued. Some of the very best examples of retirement villages are not in the private sector at all but in the RSL/ charity world. See Extra Care Charitable Trust. Fear of institutionalisation is not exclusive to any social group. Prince or pauper the issues are the same. People want choice and prolonged independence whatever their circumstances.

  4. Bob Delaney says:

    To be frank ,I don’t even know where to start with this.

    It’s an incredibly biased and myopic view of the elderly care market and the real demographics regarding the wealth and circumstances of the majority of the elderly population.

    I don’t have the time to formulate a proper response but these sort of statements are so damaging and what worries me is that people like this (and a lot of “not for profit” charitable trusts are gaining influence and access to ministers and government policy makers). He is trying to change the whole model based on 20,000 elderly people who are fortunate enough to be able to afford to live in (overpriced) retirement communities without any reference to the 400,000 plus who are cared for in the care sector.

    The statistics he quotes are meaningless. The top 10% don’t even come into the equation. They are fine ..end of story. The other 31% are not, in today’s terms, particularly wealthy in terms of the application/utilisation of their assets (not “wealth”) if that is to fund 10/20/30 years of retirement and welfare.

    I agree, Alan, it is not just b******s, but dangerous b******s if Jeremy Hunt has his ear.

    It is yet another example of how important it is for the leading operators of our sector (Not the charities, sheltered housing, extended living etc,etc ECCA, NCA, RNHA, etc) to be influencing and educating Jeremy Hunt and others.

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