- Crucial and fast growing sector has sought Ministerial backing for growth
- Announcement comes as dozens of Parliamentarians call for sector task-force
It has been announced that the newly-appointed Minister for Care and Mental Health, Gillian Keegan MP, will give a special address at the leading housing-with-care conference being run by ARCO on 3rd November.
Keegan was recently handed the role of Care Minister by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at a time when social care reform is high on the Government’s agenda. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for better care options to support older people and keep them healthy for longer.
The conference being hosted by the representative body for the housing-with-care sector, ARCO, is taking place from 3rd-4th November in London, and comes at a moment when there are growing calls for a new cross-government task force on older people’s housing and care.
MPs from four different parties urged the Government to consider setting up a task force at a Parliamentary debate on housing-with-care in July. This followed an open letter to the Prime Minister in March, signed by over 40 MPs, Peers, academics, charity and private sector leaders, which called on the Government to make the 2020s the “decade of housing-with-care”. This has been followed by dozens of Parliamentary Questions from MPs of all parties calling on the Government to act.
The ARCO conference attracts hundreds of senior leaders from across the sector, and will feature addresses from major investors, international experts and regulators, alongside the Minister for Care.
Keynote speakers include Baroness Camilla Cavendish, author of the book ‘Extra Time: Ten Lessons for an Ageing World’ and former Head of the UK Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street, and Mac Macartney, international speaker and writer and the founder of Embercombe, which promotes the regeneration of land, society, and people.
On the agenda at the What Next? 2021 conference will be the evolving landscape for housing-with-care over the last 18 months, the importance of clearly defining the sector, ways to create meaningful policy change, and ensuring a zero-carbon future for housing-with-care.
Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO, said:
“We’re delighted that the Minister for Care will be speaking at our eagerly anticipated conference in November, at a time when social care reform has never been more important.
“The pandemic has shown the need for a greater variety of care options for older people so they can stay healthy and independent for longer, and we look forward to hearing the Minister’s plans to make this a reality.
“We urge the Government to move forward with proposals for a cross-department task force on housing and care options for older people as soon as possible.”
Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley Group and Chair of ARCO, said:
“The ARCO Annual Conference is all set up to be an excellent event, at which experts, policymakers and others come together to discuss the key issues for the housing-with-care sector.
“It’s great that we will be hearing from the new Minister for Care, because we desperately need to see Government action to help the housing-with-care sector to flourish, as part of wider social care reforms.
“During the pandemic we’ve witnessed the way in which housing-with-care settings have gone above and beyond to keep residents healthy and well - we owe it to our older generations to spread these benefits far and wide, and hope the Government will listen.”
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Notes to editors
1. About ARCO: Founded in 2012, ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators) is the principle body representing both private and not-for-profit operators of housing-with-care schemes in the UK. ARCO’s members aim to provide housing and care solutions to an additional 150,000 people over the next 10 years. We work in three distinct areas, each vital in supporting our Members and growing the sector that helps people to live independently for longer.
- Setting the Policy Agenda: delivered through policy campaigning work with MPs, Peers, Government Ministers, Local Authorities and other key sector stakeholders to influence the future of much-needed sector specific legislation.
- Compliance & Regulation: delivered through our Consumer Code and standards framework, with continual assessments of Members to drive high standards for customer and resident experience.
- Knowledge Sharing and Best Practice: delivered through our extensive events programme, annual What Next? Conference, Network bulletins, online Knowledge Bank, and ARCO Analytics.
2. About Retirement Communities/housing-with-care: Retirement Communities sit in between traditional retirement houses (which have less extensive staffing and leisure facilities), and care homes, and can be set in urban or suburban locations. There is a growing body of evidence which shows that Retirement Communities keep older people healthy, well and independent for longer – reducing the overall level of care they need and keeping them out of care homes and hospitals. Currently about 77,000 people live in Retirement Communities in the UK but this number is set to grow to 250,000 people by the end of the decade. Retirement Communities are the fastest growing form of social care provision in the UK – with demand significantly exceeding current supply. Typically consisting of individual one or two bedroom flats or houses, located in a development with similar properties, residents have access to a range of services and facilities, which will include optional on-site care, 24-hour staffing, and dining and leisure facilities, and may also include bars, gyms and craft rooms. Retirement Communities are also sometimes referred to as housing-with-care schemes, retirement villages, extra care housing, assisted living, or close care apartments.
3. The benefits of Housing-with-Care: Housing-with-care has shown during the outbreak that it can help residents to self-isolate independently. A particular advantage of this form of retirement provision is that residents can access the highest levels of support from staff through care, meals, regular phone check-ins and a wide range of online activities.
More broadly, housing-with-care brings a range of great benefits to older people and our country as a whole:
- Delivering savings to the social care system: Providing social care for those with lower-level needs costs £1,222 (17.8%) less per person per year, and for those with higher-level needs £4,556 (26%) less than in other care settings.
- Boosting health and the NHS: By improving the physical and mental health of residents, costs like GP, nurse and hospital visits reduce by 38%. £5.6bn in cost savings will be made for health and social care if 250,000 over-65s live in housing-with-care by 2030
- Freeing up family homes: 562,000 bedrooms will be released to the market for all generations if the sector achieves its 2030 growth targets.
- Efficient use of land: Apartments for older people are built using up to six times less space than family homes.
- Tackling loneliness: Residents are five times as likely as non-residents to participate in social events, and four times as likely to get together with friends.
These benefits have been clearly demonstrated during the coronavirus outbreak. The provision of care, meals and support onsite has played a key role in keeping residents well and healthy. Housing-with-care has been central to cutting hospital admissions, reducing strain on the NHS and providing crucial step-down capacity once people could leave hospital.
4. Our call for a Housing-with-Care Task Force: The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on our social care system and forced us to reflect on the fact that we need to develop new models of care.
There is a huge gap in the current social care landscape for housing and care options that sit between care homes, and people receiving care in homes that may no longer suit their needs. For older people without acute care needs, the UK needs to grow the provision of models that enable them to live independently for as long as possible: with onsite care and support if needed, boosting health and wellbeing, reducing pressure on the NHS and strengthening social connection.
That’s why ARCO is calling for the swift establishment of a cross-government Housing-with-Care Task Force to accelerate the growth of the housing-with-care sector. Backed by a range of high-profile supporters, we believe a Task Force is the best mechanism through which barriers to growth can be identified, and recommendations for change made. Only by working together can we establish new options that compliment and extend the existing social care landscape in the UK.