Why extra care housing?
We chose to focus on extra care housing because:
- there is very little information available about the quality and safety of these types of services
- demand for these services is increasing with an ageing population and increase in conditions like dementia
- Lambeth Council is planning to expand extra care provision
- the visits build on our earlier review of dementia services in Clapham Park and our investigations into loneliness and isolation.
We wanted to find out whether extra care residents:
- have a good quality of life
- are able to maintain their independence and be safe
- feel they have a good social life and feel connected to their community.
Who we listened to
In total, we heard from 52 residents in one-to-one conversations or group discussions, 16 family members, 22 care staff and 17 stakeholders with management or support functions.
We found that:
- These services generally offer a good level of care, but some care needs to be more attentive and joined up, and some carers felt under pressure time-wise.
- Extra care buildings are safe and fit for purpose, but not fully dementia friendly.
- Communal spaces are under-used and activities programmes are not as successful as they could be.
- Many extra care residents seemed lonely and isolated (as reflected in some of the comments in our film) and we didn’t find much community spirit.
We concluded that extra care services have the potential to offer residents a good quality of life, but services need to provide the right support to help people make the most of opportunities.