Opinion

How uniting generations can support the care industry

How uniting generations can support the care industry

Care homes have been hit hard by COVID-19, with the number of vulnerable people under one roof causing the virus to spread alarmingly fast. As such, it is increasingly important to consider whether a more focused approach towards multi-generational retirement living should be on the agenda.

The elderly thrive from having younger people around them, both mentally and physically, and this pandemic could be what moves the care industry away from separating the generations.

What is multi-generational living?

Simply put, it consists of a mix of different ages living together on one complex. Often, these complexes have a range of communal spaces that offer retail, fitness and leisure along with quality housing accommodation.

With the correct design and operational processes in place, such as high cleaning standards and ensuring people can socially distance if needed, this approach can benefit both the elderly and young people alike.

What are the benefits?

By creating a community of all ages, a support network can be built. For elderly people who are unable to leave their homes due to illness – or self-isolation - younger people can help by getting their shopping or just by being a friendly face. This way, carers and nurses will be able to look after patients without having to worry about their general wellbeing.

Multi-generational living also offers the elderly a sense of independence, especially for those who do not have severe care needs, allowing them to stay social and build their confidence.

It can also help keep elderly people healthier generally, with the younger generation encouraging them to stay active.

How does multi-generational living work?

Multi-generational living can be implemented using the build-to-rent model. A relatively new addition to the housing market, this involves developers purchasing a site and building a set of high-quality apartments specifically for the rental sector.

Largely aimed at the younger generation, build-to-rent complexes include leisure facilities, retail units, and even cinemas. The goal is to entice people to move to the newest development with desirable and up-to-date facilities.

However, offering 24/7 security and on-site amenities means build-to-rent is also ideal for elderly people who want to stay independent.

Apartments can be made accessible throughout, enabling residents to choose any flat they wish and ensuring the complex stays multi-generational. Communal areas can also be used for activities that the older generation might enjoy, so they can form friendships with those their own age, as well as with their younger neighbours. Plus, if organised properly, care providers could see multiple individuals within the complex in one trip, saving them precious time.

Partnerships between build-to-rent complexes and care homes could even be created, ensuring elderly residents have easy access to all the help they could need.

Multi-generational living is not a quick fix for the care industry, but it is a promising route to consider. Retirement living will always be important for those with heightened care needs, but this arrangement offers an alternative that can support the care sector in the long run.

Contact us
If you’d like any further guidance, contact our real estate team.

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