2 March, 2016
On 17th February, Legal & General sponsored the National Housing for Older People Awards, held this year at the Hilton Deansgate hotel in Manchester.
The purpose of these Awards, run by the charity Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC), is to celebrate examples of the best retirement living complexes across the UK. The reason we support them is that the Awards are based on the views of residents – the older folk who live in these sheltered, retirement, assisted living and extra care developments.
To date EAC’s resident consultations, which underpin the Awards, have captured detailed information from nearly 20,000 residents in 1,500 locations about what they value in their own retirement housing complex, under the headings Where we live, My home, Services and Lifestyle. As a business, this provides us with invaluable insights to inform our investment in accommodation for older people.
In his keynote address at this year’s Awards, Bernie Hickman, L&G’s Managing Director of Individual Retirement, said:
“These Later Life Housing Awards are a really important positive shining light as they’re the only place where residents can be comfortable about celebrating what really works for them. It’s a big pat on the back for those housing providers and their employees who are providing amazing places for us to enjoy our lives across the UK. But we need more of these beacons!”
Bernie then went on to say: “We also wanted to use our influence to make some changes to the Awards. As a major provider of long term finance to later life housing providers such as MHA, Ideal Care, Care UK and Sanctuary we also see a need for there to be a change in the breadth of consultation in the later life housing sector. Some brave providers have stepped up to the mark in 2016 and asked a wider set of people for a view on what they do well and what needs to change.
“Legal & General believe that choosing where to live in later life should be made with the benefit of the independent views of three distinct groups of people:
• The residents who already live there.
• The employees who work there.
• The families of the residents who already live there.
“We have found that the views of these groups very rarely appears on the websites of housing provider to help potential residents to make an informed choice. Why not?
“Imagine finding a place to live where existing residents enjoy living, their relatives think it’s good too and the employees enjoy supporting residents to be at their best. Sounds like a great place to live right?
“Later life should have as much choice as early life. We believe that there should be a fairness of choice between generations. Let’s use these awards to celebrate those later life housing providers who have created places to make their residents shine and to be at their best.”
For its part, EAC already uses the resident consultation evidence to inform its unique and highly rated ‘housing options’ advice service, designed to help older people make informed decisions about how and where to live in later life. Its website flags the particular strengths of each retirement housing complex, as perceived by its residents. And in discussions with its clients it encourages those who are considering moving home to clarify their own priorities, and then to shortlist housing schemes that best deliver these.
More about the EAC National Housing for Older People Awards including the winning schemes, photos, a video and the Awards 2015 Report at: http://www.housingcare.org/providers/housing-for-older-people-awards-2015.aspx