A decade of development for ARCO’s Members

Monday 3rd February 2020
Part of our Decade Ahead series

In the early part of 2020, the ARCO team will be publishing a series of posts about the decade ahead, covering a variety of aspects of our work and the sector we represent.

Following last week’s post by our Policy and External Affairs Executive, Sam Dalton, on three policy crises that Retirement Communities will help solve, we hear this week from Ellie Pyemont, Head of Membership and Operations, about the decade of development ahead for ARCO Members.


A decade of development for ARCO's Members 

As we enter a new decade, ARCO’s thirty-plus Members have lots of exciting plans for innovative developments over the next ten years. It was therefore perfect timing for us to hold our latest Technology and Development workshop last month, to hear about some of their visions to make the Integrated Retirement Community sector even better.

Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the ideas we heard about.

Living for the decade ahead

Tom Lord, Inspired Villages’s COO, welcomed fellow operators to the beautiful Gifford Lea village in Tattenhall. For me, the warmth and energetic atmosphere of the village was instantly recognisable. While preparing for our workshop, I was lucky to see the village ethos in action. Whether catching a glimpse of a resident joyfully outpacing one of Inspired’s wellbeing team in the grounds or hearing about a gentleman in his eleventh decade rarely missing a day in the smart gym; the focus on health and happiness was all around. This approach to physical enablement in our later years is innovation in action!

Future regulation

In the context of the Grenfell tragedy in 2017 and the Hackitt review into building regulations and fire safety, it is important the Integrated Retirement Community sector understands how new standards have to be implemented, and leads the way in promoting safety over the next decade.

Wendy Griffin, director of architecture practice Nicol Thomas, spoke about the role of early collaboration, working with specialist consultants and enhancing protection for residents through alarms, sprinklers, construction, communication, and much more. Wendy has been built more than 3,500 retirement community units over the years and is a long-time ARCO Strategic Partner. 

Learning from the student experience

Rather than operating in a bubble confined to older people’s housing, Integrated Retirement Communities can gain many insights from student accommodation. Glide spoke about how the student living experience has gone from functional, bleak and remote blocks twenty years ago to exciting, imaginative and high-tech today.

One thing student living has benefited from in recent years is the use of high-quality technology as the backbone of good services, benefiting everything from broadband and wi-fi to gym and laundry services to lighting and climate control. The result is greater efficiency, reduced energy consumption and an enhanced resident experience. ARCO Members discussed the seamless tech-experience expected by older people today.

Zero carbon and future homes 

Promoting more climate-friendly Integrated Retirement Communities which advance net zero will be a crucial aim throughout the next decade. Hoare Lea shared useful insights on the Future Homes Standard 2025, and a wide range of steps we’ll all be needing to take, from smart appliances to zero-carbon electricity.