PRP

Four new trends in retirement living

By PRP – 16 March 2021

Surviving change is about being innovative and flexible.

Housing typologies in the later living sector are constantly diversifying, resulting in new and interesting developments. As demographics, social behaviours and aspirations of our aging population change, so too must retirement housing.

PRP has completed over 11,000 later living units in the last 20 years. It is therefore in an ideal position to recognise and predict key trends in the sector.

Delivering the right type of housing, with the right type of care, at the right time, provides immeasurable benefits to residents, local communities, NHS budgets etc.

Although we are seeing a dilution of the HAPPI knowledge in practice, it is not all doom and gloom. We have identified four exciting emerging trends in the sector, which could help tackle the critical need for older people’s housing in the UK.

  1. Small well-located independent livingQuadra for Hanover and Hill is a beautiful, mixed tenure, independent living scheme which overlooks London Fields in Hackney. It is close to local amenities so doesn’t have vast communal facilities, but includes a stunning entrance foyer, which doubles as a communal space.
  2. Housing with community hubsLimelight for Trafford Housing Trust is a pioneering project which sits at the heart of a wider regeneration masterplan in Manchester. The multi-use scheme places older people’s housing right at the centre of the community. The ‘hub’ integrates GP surgeries, event spaces, a library, café, nursery etc., all under the same roof as the extra care housing.
  3. Intergenerational developmentsOakfield for Nationwide Building Society is a housing scheme which will create a new intergenerational community in Swindon. The development includes a range of dwelling typologies, creating an inclusive masterplan, suitable for all ages. While the homes have been designed to meet the needs of diverse households, the development focuses on creating an intergenerational and supportive community.
  4. High street opportunities - The crisis on UK highstreets is well documented, but there is potential to solve some of the issues by locating older people’s housing and shared community facilities directly on the high street. Older people have time to participate and volunteer, they have money to spend and can ultimately bring life back to the high street again. Sharing a restaurant with the high street also ensures it is viable for the operator, and provides intergenerational opportunities for the whole community.

As the above illustrates, the later living sector is vast and multi-faceted. However, it is still lacking a clear definition or set of standards for the various types of housing and care for older people.

Neither the National Described Standards nor the building regulations mention older people. In lieu of this, each new project is bespoke and requires time and discussion to establish a brief. Some clients and local authorities­­ are investing time and money in preparing their own set of bespoke standards.

As a direct response to this need, PRP has prepared a new set of design principles for extra care housing for the Housing LIN. We hope it will become a ‘go-to’ resource for the industry, so watch this space for PRP’s next blog on the topic…

Written by Clare Cameron, Director at PRP