After ten years of austerity, latest forecasts depict an ever-looming crisis.

  • The number of older people getting care from Councils has fallen by over a quarter between 2008-09 and 2013-14 and less than half of the over fifty fives who approached their council for support received it.
  • 36% of care home residents are currently self-funding in the North West, 18% in the North East and 54% in the South East.

When you are faced with the sudden need to find a home for aging parents, the vast majority of Council approved residential homes are either outdated or converted buildings that are no longer fit for purpose. New purpose built specialised homes with care support are difficult to come by, numbers need to rise 75% by 2035 as over-65s are set to make up one in five of the country’s population within 10 years.

Here in the North West, Brock Carmichael is proud to announce the construction of an innovative St Helens scheme by Torus for 130 later life/extra care apartments. However, this development bucks the trend for Housing Association / RP developments, as this type of scheme is only possible by the input of substantial amounts of additional capital. To overcome the financial constraints of the traditional funding model for elderly care, developments can be more versatile, catering for other than elderly needs, integrated with the local community and connect directly with different age groups.

We are learning lessons from other countries with similar issues. Brock Carmichael’s work in Summit View, Kowloon, Hong Kong for Y Hospitality is a good example which features elderly day care and an active aging centre alongside an educational institution and a hotel. Within this example not only is there shared space and interaction between the various age groups but also a cross subsidy of running and capital cost.

By 2025 more than a million people in the UK will have the late stages of dementia. It is imperative that the specialist design to cater for this and other mental health conditions is integrated into the mix of elderly accommodation. Integrated extra care housing, retirement communities, co-housing schemes and more accessible homes can be a bigger part of our future housing stock, but we need more, only 7% of homes in England meet the four basic standards of accessibility. It only costs an average of £521 more to build accessibility into a new three-bed home.

Architects, developers, central and local government, housing associations, health and care providers need to work together urgently and constructively to build the good quality, affordable accessible homes in whatever form we need and deserve as we age.

This article was published in the February 2018 edition of Insider North West Magazine.