Skip to main content

Health and Wellbeing Innovation Commission Inquiry: Retirement Communities and Care Homes

Author: Brian Beach

As a variety of factors lead to increasing longevity and an ageing population, the demand for robust health and care services continues to grow. Innovation in the areas of health and wellbeing will be crucial to ensure that such services remain sustainable, address needs efficiently, and contribute to positive experiences in later life.

In order to foster developments in this respect, ILC-UK established the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Commission with the support of the Audley Group and EY. The Commission brings together current evidence in this area, generating thought leadership through a critical exploration of the opportunities and barriers with respect to diffusing new ideas and innovations across four themes relevant for later life and across the life course: retirement communities and care homes, the built environment, physical and mental health, and social connections.

The first inquiry explored retirement communities and care homes. As housing is a fundamental component in people’s lives, the suitability of accommodation for people as they age has a significant impact on their experiences, particularly with respect to health and wellbeing (including changes therein). Notwithstanding the significant importance many older people place on staying in their family homes, the focus in this inquiry has been on the alternative destinations to private family homes: primarily, specialist housing with ageing in mind as well as residential care settings.

Expert contributions during the first inquiry session of the commission, combined with our own research of available literature and examples in this field, have informed this report to explore the current state of affairs around innovations in retirement housing and care homes and their role to influence health and wellbeing in later life.