The Coronavirus pandemic has effected everybody, in many cases tragically. Whilst the virus does not discriminate, it does place certain groups of people at greater risk. One such group is people aged over 70.
The lockdown measures introduced by the government at the beginning of the pandemic have undoubtedly saved lives, however they have also served to isolate some of the most vulnerable people in society who are reliant on their support networks. Unfortunately there are many people who do not have a support network.
People who live alone often view a trip to the shops as their daily interaction with the wider world and during the lockdown this source of interaction has been curtailed. Despite protecting our vulnerable, elderly population from the virus, the restrictions on movement have increased the levels of loneliness, anxiety and depression.
Within a supported living environment we can ease these concerns and provide assistance where needed.
In the UK we have a pitifully small amount of dedicated retirement housing for our ageing population. Not only does this cause housing supply issues and place an ever increasing burden on our social care system, but it also serves to highlight the vulnerability faced by elderly people who may be living in housing which is no longer suited to their needs.
Throughout these challenging times the value of supported retirement housing has never been better demonstrated. Fairhaven has enabled its residents to effectively self-isolate by ensuring that those people who do not have a support network receive meals and essential shopping as well as regular welfare telephone calls.
Our staff have delivered in excess of 3000 meals to resident’s doorsteps since March and we have spent countless hours on the telephone. Welfare calls have become long conversations and our staff have strengthened ties with residents we have known and served for many years. The simplicity of providing a hearty home cooked meal, a friendly conversation and essential shopping has gone a long way to easing the isolation and loneliness faced by many.
However this isn’t all Fairhaven have done. We have maintained our core service delivery of grounds and buildings maintenance as well as proactive repairs. Residents can rest assured knowing that everything outside their front door is taken care of.
Much of the above may seem simple, but taking the burden out of home ownership by providing essential services to someone’s front door has a huge and underestimated value. This value is not just felt by those who receive it, but also by the wider society. Enabling people to remain within their own homes, living independently with the right support, benefits everybody. It not only increases supply in the housing market, it will ease the burden on social care provision and emergency hospital admissions whilst creating employment.
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the weaknesses within our society, but it has provided an opportunity for us to demonstrate the value of supported housing.