Care services minister Ivan Lewis revealed today the 25 schemes that would benefit from £80m of government cash to build extra care housing over the next two years.
Between them they will provide over 2,000 self-contained flats for older people with significant care needs, including those with dementia, who would otherwise go into residential care.
One of the criteria that bids were assessed against was the provision of at least one double bedroom per flat, to enable couples to stay together.
Splitting up older couples
In May, the DH announced it would begin discussions with councils over ensuring that older couples are not split up by care arrangements, amid concerns this was a growing problem. At the time, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services older people’s network co-chair Dwayne Johnson said the problem could arise where extra care provision was scarce.
Lewis said today: “Too often I hear of cases where a couple who have been together for over fifty years are forced apart because one requires care and has no choice but to enter residential or nursing care, leaving their partner at home. Extra care housing will give people a choice about how and where they choose to spend their life.”
Other bid criteria included accommodating people with dementia, one-third of whom live in residential care, demonstrating a commitment to residents’ dignity, making use of telecare and prioritising personalisation.
The funding will bring total Department of Health investment in extra care to £227m since 2004, covering 97 sites and providing over 6,000 flats.