A recent article in The Telegraph brought attention to the lack of construction of retirement homes in the UK, in the context of a rapidly growing number of elderly Britons who could struggle to find suitable housing. Living in a retirement village or assisted living accommodation can provide an alternative to moving into a care home, allowing elderly individuals to retain their independence and reduce costs.
According to the article, only 2.8% of housing being constructed at the present time has post-retirement individuals in mind. At the same time, Britain’s elderly population is set to explode over coming decades. The Government estimates that there are currently 10 million people in the UK over the age of 65, and this figure is set to rise to 19 million by 2050. The number of individuals over the age of 80 is also projected to increase from 3 million presently to 8 million by 2050 – at which age the likelihood of requiring care increases substantially.
While there is no doubt a need to address this situation and ensure that those who wish to move into such housing can do so, domiciliary care can also offer an alternative solution in the comfort of people’s existing homes. It is capable of alleviating many of the challenges elderly people face in later life and can provide invaluable support to the needs of many. Policy makers would be wise to look to it as a serious solution both in the long and short term.
Domiciliary care can certainly offer a cheaper alternative than residential care, with the cost of part time care at home averaging £11,000 a year – significantly cheaper than the £28,666 average cost of a room in a residential care home uncovered in recent Prestige Nursing + Care research. In addition to the savings benefits of domiciliary care, it can reduce the pressure that those with moderate care needs place on the care system and NHS, while also preserving independence as argued in a previous Prestige blog.
For many, care at home offers a number of attractions. Domiciliary care allows the elderly or vulnerable to remain in environments familiar to them, to stay a part of their existing community and also offers them greater control over the care that they receive.