Extra care units for the elderly to be built in Rugby and surrounding areas

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AROUND 370 extra care units for elderly will be build in Warwickshire.

Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet has approved the award of a contract to build approximately 370 extra care housing units with provider Housing 21 in a move that will transform the shape of care accommodation that is suitable for older people by maximising their independence and ability to live in their own homes with their own front door.

Having received approval from Cabinet, the council can now proceed with the contract and securing planning approval.

Building work is expected to start in late Spring 2012 with officers anticipating completion of the first schemes by the end of 2013.

Units will be built at six sites across Warwickshire which are: Former Mancetter First School playing field, Atherstone; former St Margaret’s Griff School, Bedworth; former Mayfield care home site, Bedworth; former Abbotsbury care home site, Rugby; former Marie Corelli School Playing Field, Bishopton; former St Nicolas School annexe, Moorfield Road Alcester.

Extra Care Housing is significantly different from traditional residential care, giving individuals and couples the option to live ‘at home’ rather than ‘in a home’. The schemes offer older people greater independence through purpose built, self-contained apartments, each with its own front door.

The available accommodation will be suitable for people with varying levels of care needs and a team of carers are on site and on call 24 hours a day.

Communal facilities and a social dimension will be optional and increase opportunities for residents to be independent, avoiding loneliness and isolation.

The extra care developments will be mixed tenure – a mix of rented, shared ownership, and outright sales. Of the proposed 370 units, around 50% will be social rented units specifically for the use of county council customers. The remaining 50% will be sold outright or as part of a shared ownership.

As well as improving quality of life for the residents, the scheme will make significant savings for the county council. These will be derived from various sources and although not the main driver for the scheme, will help the county council as it seeks to reduce costs.

But the real financial benefit will be long term and sustained as the cost of care of older people is reduced.

Residential care costs somewhere between £360 to £520 per week typically, depending on the level of provision needed.

However, the cost of maintaining residents in Extra Care Housing would typically cost approximately £210 per week.

By 2014, the annual operational savings are forecast to be in the region of £860,000.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, portfolio holder for adult social care at Warwickshire County Council, said: “There are tremendous benefits for everyone in moving to Extra Care Housing.

Older people will stay living independently for longer whilst still having a network of support from the 24 hour care.

“We are committed to providing the highest level of care for older people and are more than satisfied that the outstanding levels of savings that the scheme achieves are a consequence of a very well researched and efficient strategy rather than compromising our standards in any way.”