Yesterday [Monday March 11th], residents and staff from Retirement Villages Ltd gathered in the impressive surroundings of the House of Lords to meet with MPs, Peers and industry leaders to discuss how retirement communities can provide a credible solution to the pressing challenge of how we meet the lifestyle, health and care needs of older people.
The event marked the launch of the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO); the new trade body that has been established to promote confidence in the sector; to increase the volume and quality of expertise within the sector; and to raise awareness of the retirement community model amongst policy makers, older people and stakeholders alike.
ARCO strives to drive up standards of housing and care provision in the retirement community sector, and to this end all ARCO-registered schemes have to adhere to the standards of quality laid out in the ARCO Charter.
Attended by 140 guests, including 14 parliamentarians, the afternoon reception was hosted by Baroness Greengross OBE, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Ageing and Older People. ARCO also welcomed Baroness Joan Hanham CBE, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Jack Dromey MP, Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government, both of whom addressed guests with words of support for the retirement community sector.
All three speakers were strongly supportive of the ARCO model of housing with care, all noting the importance of helping older people retain their much valued independence. It was also acknowledged that integrated service delivery is critical in securing the best possible outcomes for older people, and that housing must be considered alongside health and social care priorities at both the local and national level.
ARCO particularly welcomed the demonstration of cross-party support for improving choice within the housing and care market place, and the commitment to ensuring that the retirement community model is made more widely available alongside other mainstream options.
ARCO Chairman and Chief Executive of Retirement Villages Ltd, Jon Gooding, said:
“The Association has formed at a critical juncture in the housing and social care debate. We are all grappling with the challenge of how we provide high quality care and housing to an ageing population in a time of economic uncertainty and restraint, coupled with rising expectations and lifestyle aspirations. I strongly believe that ARCO’s members represent the solution, at least in part.
“We, as an Association, will do our part and strive to promote and develop the sector, whilst ensuring that people are aware of the ways in which the retirement community sector can meet their lifestyle, health and social care needs. However, to achieve real growth in this sector we call on Government in Westminster, Whitehall and the town hall to encourage meaningful integration of housing and care provision.
“We believe that combining independent housing with 24/7 care in a community setting presents a credible solution for many older people. The stage is set for the Government to act and empower older people to prepare for and make the right move at the right time; securing access to the support they need whilst maintaining their valued independence and the right to their own front door.”
Register Office: 1st Floor, Brunswick House, Regent Park, 297-299
Kingston Road, Leatherhead,Surrey, KT22 7LU
Registered in England and Wales Number 05335724. Affiliations: ARCO; HBF; Independent
Housing Ombudsman Service