As our society ages, we can expect to see greater numbers of people living into later life, with more people than ever before developing needs for care and support. Innovative and creative solutions are key to avoiding the increasing and unsustainable pressures to deliver this social care. One such solution – the focus of this report – is the idea of extra care housing, where care services are provided on an as-needed basis to residents within their own homes.

We examined the motivations behind why people decided to move into their retirement villages, how they found them, and how their experiences might reflect the concepts of independence and control.

Quality of life can be measured a number of different ways, and previous research in this area around housing with care has used less well-developed or standardised measures. We adopted two sets of questions that examine quality of life among older people, which offer insights into particular aspects of people’s experiences but also provide an overall score for quality of life.

Since our entire sample came from residents in retirement villages with extra care, the findings cannot tell us much about how their experiences might vary from those of others or if the residence might have an influence on this. We applied a statistical technique using additional data that allowed us to make a comparable sample of people living in private housing.

Our findings have different implications for different groups. For example, since the results suggest that housing with extra care is delivering on its stated objectives – which are aligned with broad government policy priorities in this area – government should think about doing more to promote such alternative models of housing with care. For providers of such housing, our research provides evidence that residents are overall quite happy with their decision after their move. Moreover, we found that friends, family, locality, and advertising are all important reasons that people found out about such housing, while independence and an active lifestyle were important motivating reasons to move. Finally, for researchers in this field, this research provides some preliminary insights to the experiences in retirement villages, despite limitations in the data. Overall, the findings suggest that such extra care support is a good option for people, and further research is needed.

Publisher: International Longevity Centre UK
Published Date: 2015
Length: 38pp