Care Minister Caroline Dinenage has signalled that retirement communities will play a major role in meeting the housing and care needs of the UK’s ageing population.
Speaking during ARCO’s What Next? 2019 Conference at Royal Horticultural Halls, London, the minister said plans to develop more retirement communities would feature in the Social Care Green Paper when it is published.
The minister said housing-with-care (commonly referred to as Retirement Communities) has never played a more important role in health and social care, helping to keep older people healthier, more active and less lonely, as well as freeing up family homes.
Now that care homes are increasingly focused on end-of-life care, the minister added that retirement communities will fill the gap between living independently at home and care homes.
She said the Social Care Green Paper will outline the role operators can play and that the government is committed to helping to expand the supply of retirement communities, looking at measures such as a clearer definition for planners and appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks which guarantees residents’ rights.
Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP called on the sector to be ambitious in its expansion plans, particularly in the mid-market, adding he expected local authorities to take much more account of the housing needs of older people in their local plans and in identifying suitable sites.
Michael Voges, Executive Director ARCO, said: “Today we heard a clear message that government recognises the importance of our sector and wants – in fact needs – us to grow significantly over the coming years.
“We are delighted to hear that the Department of Health and the Ministry of Housing will work together to help increase supply, listening to ideas from the sector and unlocking our huge potential over the coming years.”