What Is It?
The population of Essex is ageing. What is needed is a wide range of housing types across all tenures, including accessible and adaptable general needs retirement housing. It is important to make this provision as it will help to ensure fluidity in the local housing market by freeing up some larger properties for families as well as supporting healthy, active and independent living for people as they age. Everyone benefits from this approach.
Given the ageing population there is a relatively high number of households containing someone with a disability. In addition to general needs retirement, there will also be a need for specially adapted and/or designed accommodation including extra care housing to meet these needs. Developing initiatives with specialist providers will be encouraged.
Supported accommodation is also required to meet the needs of younger adults with special needs (who might also have a disability) in order that they can gain increased independence and become less reliant on ageing parents.
What Are We Doing?
The South Essex Commission of Enquiry into co-operation between housing, health and adult social care reported its findings in 2011. Plans to deliver some of its innovative proposals are now underway and are reflected in the key actions below. The proposals are designed to promote independent living in attractive, well designed housing and facilitate the delivery of health and adult social care services into people’s homes, where this is needed. The aim is to avoid unnecessary or prolonged stays in hospital or residential care. Under occupation has also been highlighted as an issue in the sub region. There are opportunities through house swap initiatives and equity release schemes to make better use of our housing stock and encourage greater mobility particularly for those seeking work.
Key objectives of any older People’s housing strategy should be:
Essex County Council in partnership with its borough, city and district authorities and other providers recently launched a new website dedicated to Independent Living.
The scheme is for people aged 55 and over who want to live in their own home but with the peace of mind of 24-hour care, if they need it. Independent Living homes can be rented or bought outright. For some homes, there is a minimum weekly care requirement to be able to live there.
Up to 1,800 Independent Living homes are set to be built across Essex by 2021. The first are in Harwich, Walton-on-the-Naze and Saffron Walden. Unlike sheltered housing, Independent Living offers around-the-clock care. For further information please visit: www.independentessex.co.uk
Key Links For Further Information
Independent Living –