Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Alternatives to warehousing older people - an ongoing debate 

One of the first decisions made by the LibDems when we took over Milton Keynes Council in 2002 was to support the development of an ‘extracare’ retirement village – an alternative to the traditional ‘care homes’ for older people. Now this very development is the centrepiece of a six-part BBC TV programme ‘Silverville’, the first episode going out on Wednesday 29 July at 10.45pm on BBC ONE

Have a look and decide whether you think this kind of ‘retirement village’ is what we should be encouraging more generally in the UK. Were we right to back this initiative?

The programme is a co-production with the Open University and the OU has prepared some backup material – see the silverville website for details. You can get a free OU booklet that sets out the options available to people approaching their retirement years. Call 0845 366 8008 or visit www.open2.net to order a copy.

If you want information on the organisation ‘extracare ’ (Including the location of other villages of this type across the UK) take a look at this link.

You might also like to take part in an OU survey on ‘care, health, accommodation and many other issues associated with ageing.’

The aim of the survey is to investigate how much is understood about services available and how they are accessed. Whether a carer or being cared for, economic factors and forward planning are key determinants of what is available and at what cost. Knowing how to make plans and where to seek advice and assistance are crucial to obtaining the best from the services.
The responses will be used by Open University researchers to map out the current “state-of-play” between perceptions and reality of life for older people in the UK.
The survey outcomes will contribute to current consultations on the future shape of the care and support system in England.

The survey can be found at

Sheila Peace, Professor of Gerontology with The Open University, is leading the research and says: “We are living at a time when we all need to address the big question over how as a nation we provide a life of quality for older people. Society will need to find new ways of caring for and supporting older people. Living arrangements will continue to change and the environment in which people grow older can be particularly important to how people feel about themselves. Different types of accommodation may provide solutions for particular groups of people but lifestyle changes need to be set within a wider discussion which the responses to the survey will help provide.”
OU press release 17 July 2009

This theme will be a hot political issue in the coming decade. The OU is to be congratulated for this public information initiative that could enrich and focus our political life in all parties.

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