Alzheimer’s Society comment on ILC-UK’s calls for extra care housing focus to reduce loneliness and social isolation in older people

A new report from the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) has found that residential housing with flexible care provision can have a major impact in promoting residents' quality of life and reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

The report, funded by Audley Retirement and Bupa, surveyed residents of retirement villages on quality of life and compared the results with a group living in the community.

The research showed that village living can promote greater independence and provide greater choice in planning for later life than would otherwise be available. The research also shows that the communal environment has the potential to reduce social isolation, particularly for residents who move from more rural or remote homes.

  • The average person in a retirement village experiences half the amount of loneliness (12.17 per cent) than those in the community (22.83 per cent).
  • Nearly two thirds of respondents living in retirement villages (64.2 per cent) could be classified as not at all lonely, and over four out of five (81.7 per cent) said they hardly ever or never felt isolated. 
  • Over half (54.7 per cent) often felt in tune with those around them, and nearly four in five (79.1 per cent) hardly ever or never felt left out.

George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer's Society, said:

'There are significant housing problems facing people with dementia, but there is scant attention given to this problem in housing policy. Much of the UK's accommodation is poorly designed to meet the needs of people with dementiaand this offers significant barriers when they move home. It is positive to hear that residential housing with flexible care provision can reduce feelings of social isolation and loneliness, something which is endemic among people withdementia – but there is little of this available when compared to the number of people with the condition.

'With an ageing population and increasing numbers of people with dementia, housing must be adapted, designed and built to meet their specific needs and improve quality of life.'

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