Rise in Residential Communities in the UK

With a host of negative press regarding care homes in the UK recently, it’s more imperative than ever that when we aid a loved one in choosing a care home, we are certain we are putting them in safe hands.

In recent years, the UK has experienced a slow but steady transition from care home to the idea of a more residential community, in which residents can enjoy a more independent and sociable life. This is due chiefly to the variety of activities on offer at a range of residential communities, and an emphasis on the idea of ‘community’ itself.

With locations in a wide range of counties in the UK, including the West Midlands, Merseyside and Yorkshire, charitable organisations such as ExtraCare are highlighting the importance and significance in this new development. The specific locations of their residential villages can be viewed at http://www.extracare.org.uk/extracare-communities/locations.aspx. These innovative companies have developed the notion of a ‘residential village’, which boasts the ideals and comforts of a normal, regular lifestyle but in a safe and secure setting.

What are the benefits of a residential community over a traditional care home?

shutterstock_46114975Theologian and activist Robert McAfee Brown stated ‘How does one keep from ‘growing old inside’? Surely only in community. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable.’

Living as part of a community in a secure and welcoming environment can offer an elderly person many advantages during their later years. As social, active beings, we all have the right to feel part of a strong society, regardless of age, ability or financial means, and this is what new residential villages can offer.

However, the social inclusion aspect is not the only advantage of these establishments. They are often centred on health and leisure based activities, to promote the importance of a continuation of the residents’ independence and happy lifestyle. With a diverse range of activities on offer, residents are given the opportunity to learn new skills, develop old ones or just relax and socialise with new friends. All of these have the advantage of a team basis; something each member of the community can feel proud to be a part of.

Residential villages as part of the general community

An additional advantage of a residential village over a traditional care home is the ability for its residents to integrate into the wider society, as is their right to. Many institutions offer a ‘social hub’, usually in the form of a cafe or bar, where older people and their families from all areas of the community can socialise with the residents of the village, in a welcoming and natural environment. Members of the community are also usually able to make use of the village’s facilities – particularly gyms and spas, for example – for a small fee. This can be especially useful for people who struggle to use regular gyms, and need a bit of extra guidance and support using equipment.

 

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