The mutual benefits of intergenerational care are undoubtedly huge. For the elderly, the interaction with a younger generation reduces feelings of isolation or depression whilst providing purpose to their day. For the younger children their language, social skills and literacy can be vastly improved. The overall mental stimulation hugely benefits both parties who can also simply enjoy one another’s company.
The combination of the care crisis and the huge impact that Covid 19 has had on care homes has in many cases accelerated the deterioration of many. We passionately believe that the design of care homes and accommodation has huge impacts on the residents and their wellbeing, and the benefits of intergenerational living can have a real impact on negating these issues. Existing successful schemes in Europe, combined with a few social experiments that have occurred in the UK, highlight overwhelmingly the benefits of this way of living.
At Carless + Adams we are elated that Brentwood Council has just approved our planning application for an intergenerational scheme at Dudbrook Care Home with St Michaels Homes. A nursery has been designed in close proximity to the care home and shared space has been integrated into the design to allow for interactions between the children and elderly to occur. The nursery also has a playground which will provide the elderly the sounds of children playing, even when they are not directly with them. Removing the segregation between the care home and society continues to embrace the elderly into the community, something that we feel passionate about in elderly care.
In this case our planning submission was recommended for refusal by officers as they did not believe the ‘very special circumstances’ outweighed the harm that would be created on the Green Belt.
However, members of the planning committee took a very different view acknowledging that the shortfall in care beds in Brentwood is a big problem and that the standard of existing beds leaves a lot to be desired and there was a clear desire amongst the planning committee to lead the way in intergenerational care. The benefits of the interaction between the young and the old was widely debated and the entire committee felt it was the right approach for care for the future. This planning approval is great news for the care sector as a whole. It illustrates that councils understand that often the provision of care beds can be low in number or their quality. Recognising the benefits of intergenerational care schemes for elderly residents, nursery children and the community in its entirety by planning committees, shows this could be the start of an exciting and overdue revolution in the future of care sector.