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- Author or Editor: Simon Evans x
Specialist forms of housing with care are becoming increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, largely as a result of the ageing of the population and the relative wealth of the latest generation of older people. Retirement villages and extra care housing are two models of provision that have seen particularly spectacular growth. This is partly because in many ways they are perceived to promote government agendas for increasing independence and wellbeing for older people. They also aim to meet older people’s aspirations for a good quality of life in their retirement years and to live somewhere they feel they belong. Many such housing developments are marketed as ‘communities of like minded people’, offering security, peace of mind, a range of facilities and new opportunities for friendship and social interaction.
This important book investigates changing concepts and experiences of community across the lifecourse and into older age and how they play out in housing with care settings. An overview of how the housing with care sector has developed, both in the UK and internationally, is provided. The book emphasizes the central importance of a sense of community for older people’s quality of life and explores the impact of a range of factors including social networks, inclusive activities, diversity and the built environment.
The book will be of particular interest to students in the fields of gerontology, social policy, housing, planning, the built environment and community development. It will also appeal to academics, policy makers, practitioners, service providers and researchers, both in the UK and other countries with similar housing with care options, including the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
This chapter begins by describing two particular forms of housing for later life that have become extremely popular — retirement villages and extra care housing. As growing numbers of older people come to an end of full-time employment and look forward to many years of retirement, sometimes called the ‘third age’, they are increasingly seeing the quality and location of their housing as central to their quality of life and to their aspirations. It notes that there is plenty of evidence suggesting that older people are indeed looking for a sense of community. It features findings from three projects which involve disciplines such as social gerontology, sociology, environmental psychology, and community studies.
This chapter examines the concept of community and how it has influenced social policy in the UK. It argues that physical place or neighbourhood remains a key element of many communities because, despite the impact of globalisation and other social changes, it provides the venues for those everyday social interactions that are vital to a sense of community. A range of theories are explored such as community of interest, community of place, community of identity, and community in place. It compares the concepts of neighbourhood and community, along with the differences between rural and urban communities. It considers the nature and influence of government policy on community, particularly in terms of the recent emphasis on promoting community as an important element in the quality of life and wellbeing of older people.
This chapter focuses on how ideas and experiences of community change as people grow older. Recent cohorts of retirees are less likely to have experienced more traditional communities and tend to have less class solidarity. It explains that communities have in the past helped to provide stability and continuity but social changes such as the closure of many local services and facilities, have changed the role of the local area for many people. This chapter also explores the meaning of community for older people in the context of weakening intergenerational links as a result of the increased social, occupational, and geographical mobility of young people. This chapter argues that community continues to be important, and that well-designed, accessible housing is a key component in promoting community involvement and quality of life.
This chapter provides an overview of housing with care settings in the UK and examines their increasing popularity in recent years. It discusses an array of reasons for this rapid growth, such as the ageing population, the concept of ageing in place, the development of new lifestyles in older life, and a general recognition of the need for greater choice and flexibility in housing options for older people. It presents a history of the development of housing with care schemes and details the common characteristics of such schemes, including a range of facilities, social activities, and flexible care packages. It concludes by analysing how housing with care schemes are marketed with images of vibrant communities that offer a positive lifestyle for older people, incorporating successful ageing and the concept of a worry-free active retirement.
This chapter discusses the development of housing and care options for older people outside the UK. It explores how retirement ‘communities’ first appeared in Europe as schemes with religious affiliations to shelter and care for the aged and then spread to the US, where about 2,000 of them had been built by 2001. It also describes how they have become established as a popular form of retirement housing in Australia and New Zealand and are now appearing in many other parts of the world.
This chapter examines how community is conceptualised, promoted, and perceived in housing with care settings. This includes a consideration of how providers have attempted to create communities in extra care schemes and retirement villages and the extent to which residents experience them as such. Social capital, the provision of facilities, design factors, and interaction with the wider community are the issues considered to be important in housing with care settings. This chapter also identifies the roles of community in supporting quality of life and social wellbeing. It discusses the challenges to promoting community in housing with care settings. It explains that opportunities to interact with the wider community are crucial to many of those living in housing with care settings. Thus, it explores how these opportunities can be promoted, and examines some of the potential challenges, including access to transport, design factors, and location.
This chapter explores the extent to which a diverse population is supported in housing with care settings and examines the potential for social exclusion and isolation. Mixed tenure is explored as a scheme for encouraging diversity, as are features such as ‘pepperpotting’ and ‘tenure blind’ that have been employed in these settings. It identifies several challenges to supporting diversity, including a lack of clear information about the nature of such communities, tensions between residents from different socio-economic backgrounds, and a lack of tolerance of different styles. It examines the age-segregated nature of most housing and care environments and the implications of this for the concept of community. It identifies a range of other factors important to diversity such as the siting of community facilities, the availability of inclusive activities, and accessible design.
This chapter explores how communities might continue to change over the next 20 years and the impact these changes might have on the quality of life of older people. It suggests that many older people wish to remain economically active and to enjoy increased levels of participation in voluntary and social enterprise activities. It argues that it is important to think about the aspirations of older people and to facilitate their desire to contribute towards the communities in which they live, rather than seeing them as a burden on those communities. It notes that the future of retirement villages and extra care housing is considered in the context of social changes, particularly in terms of their ability to work as communities.