It is predicted that the number of over 85-year-olds living in the UK is set to double by 2041 and treble by 2066 – at which point there will be a further 8.6 million residents over the age of 65.
Despite this, the UK has failed to address the specific housing, health and care needs of our ageing population. Not only failing to address the needs of this demographic, but also the urbanisation phenomenon. The UN reports that 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, which is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. In the UK 83% live in an urban environment and during 2001 and 2011, the number of older people increased by 23.8% in OECD metropolitan areas.1
Responding to our ageing population and urbanisation needs, we will work with a team of global experts in design, development and wellbeing to deliver a new class of urban retirement community across the UK’s towns and cities. Our communities will be situated in vibrant urban environments. We will combine beautiful architecture and interiors with groundbreaking and academically-accredited wellness programmes – to enable and enrich an independent, active later life.
Leading an active later life is concerned with much more than just physical fitness, but it is also about social and mental activation as well. Loneliness is described by medical professionals as a “silent epidemic” and has profound medical implications. In England, more than 2 million people over the age of 75 live alone and more than a million older people say they go for a month without speaking to a friend, family member or neighbour. Social isolation is prolific, particularly among this generation, despite our towns and cities being full of people.
Our communities will be innovatively designed, and master-planned. Made up of around 200 apartments, they will include a restaurant, a physiotherapy gym and pool, consultant rooms for GP surgeries, a children’s nursery and retail space for local businesses – all of which will be open to the community. Residents will live independently, but have the choice of flexible and supportive care if needed. Our sites will include key worker units and transitional care suites, available to the NHS as and when required.
Michael Eggington, CEO at Guild Living, adds: “Internationally, we have seen countless examples of how active, community-focused living can change people’s lives. Over six per cent of over-65s in the US and Australia live in later living communities. This is in comparison to the 0.6 per cent of over-65s choosing a retirement community in the UK. In the likes of the US, New Zealand and Australia, the intrinsic link between housing and health is widely recognised. This support has helped retirement villages become a mainstream option for older demographics.”.
At Guild Living, we are supported by a team of leading academics, including Professor Malcolm Johnson of Channel 4’s documentary ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’. Our academic-led approach enables us to design wellness programmes that support better ageing through physical, cognitive, psychological, nutritional and social stimulation.
Our unique approach means that we will create a culture of social inclusion and bring a multitude of benefits that come from intergenerational engagement. As part of this, we will include a children’s nursery into the later living community, as well as facilities such as restaurants, bars and wellness centres that will be open to the wider community.
Eugene Marchese, Design and Innovation Director at Guild Living, says: “Our vision is to deliver a significant change to how our generation lives. We will create beautiful ‘age-friendly’ environments that are activated by world-leading wellness programmes and activities, designed to engage and connect our residents with family, friends and the greater community.
Each Guild Living community will be designed with innovative architecture, communal facilities, and academically accredited wellness programmes, that will stimulate our residents physically, socially and cognitively.”
1. The Office for National Statistics August 2018 report says that in mid-2016 there were 1.6m people aged 85 years and over, that by mid-2041 this is projected to double to 3.2m and by 2066 to treble. By 2066 there will be a further 8.6m projected UK residents aged 65 years and over, taking the total number in this group to 20.4m and making up 26% of the total population. This increase in numbers is broadly equivalent to the size of the population of London today.