Grasping the Care nettle
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
There is no doubt the Covid-19 crisis has re-ordered and accelerated priorities within the retirement living, housing with care and care home sectors. Here, our Executive Chair, Paul Foster, considers five changes that could be on the horizon across the market.
1. Large scale remodelling
With local and national government, plus the wider public, focused on care for the most difficult of reasons at the moment, the social care sector should see considerably more public investment following the learnings of the past couple of months. The long-recognised requirement to replace outdated care homes will gather impetus as more stringent requirements, particularly around healthcare facilities, hygiene standards and infection control, will lead to large-scale remodelling or rebuilding: smaller care home operators of outdated buildings might be regulated out of the market.
2. Futureproofed design
Going forward, the design of care homes will need to plan for potential isolation requirements and healthcare provision, incorporating staff accommodation and embedding the ability to socially distance.
3. Larger investors
While the growth in provision of housing with care is likely to be driven in the short-term by larger social living organisations, because of availability of funding. Institutional investors will also stay with this resilient market, due to the compelling demographics, although they’ll be mindful of the falling away of final salary pensions within the mid-market target age group.
4. Changes in tenure models
With the housing market slowdown, we’ll see increased adoption of alternative tenure models in the assisted living sector, including shared ownership and rental.
5. Call for planners to consider housing with care as housing provision
There is, however, likely to be frustrations with the planning process as developers seek to meet demand. Until it is recognised that housing with care is, simply put, part of housing provision and different from care homes, we will have a hill to climb, not just as developers, but as communities. And, while we’re on the subject, the enormous, sustainable value care homes bring their communities – both socially and economically - has long been unrecognised.