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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Views Wanted on Possible Expansion of North Yorkshire OAP Homes

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4:12pm 22nd July 2014

North Yorkshire County Council is to consult on a new care strategy which would lead to Extra Care housing in every major town in North Yorkshire.

By 2020 nearly a quarter of North Yorkshire’s residents will be over 65 and the number of people predicted to have dementia will have increased by more than 20 per cent.  .

The aim therefore is that by 2020 there will be more than 50 Extra Care housing schemes across the county to meet the needs of people living with dementia and the changing aspirations of the wider population.

The plan is part of a new, transformational strategy for North Yorkshire’s Health and Adult Services to meet future needs based on the fact that older people wish to live independent lives in their own homes and want more choice and control over their support so they can remain part of their local communities for longer.

The strategy, called “Care and Support Where I Live”, represents a turning point for the council’s Extra Care programme. It sets out a future where Extra Care would become a vehicle for delivering accommodation as well as community care and support for a wider range of people.  

The programme over time will replace the county council’s remaining elderly persons’ homes, and will also offer a range of other solutions to other vulnerable people such as Supported Living for younger people with a learning disability and specialist extra care housing for people living with dementia.

  “We are totally convinced that the expansion and development of the Extra Care model is the way forward for our county,” said County Councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Health and Adult Services.

“It provides an innovative and flexible model of partnership working to meet the care and social needs of older and vulnerable people, placing them at the very heart of their communities where they want to belong.  In this way Extra Care schemes will play a pivotal role in the council’s ambition to support North Yorkshire’s communities to be active, thriving and stronger.””

Currently the county council has 16 Extra Care schemes being managed across the county, providing 649 apartments of accommodation.

Extra Care currently enables people aged 55 or over or other vulnerable adults to live in their own homes, but with care and support according to need seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Extra Care provides a range of supported apartments and enables couples to stay together and have their families to stay and for people to keep their pets. Extra Care also provides communal facilities such as a lounge, restaurant, hair and beauty room, guest suite and assisted bathing room.

Extra Care is provided through a partnership between the county council, housing developers, housing associations and district and borough councils.  In future however, the county council proposes to work additionally with other partners, such as the NHS, Clinical Commissioning Groups and voluntary organisations, to develop Extra Care housing as community hubs. 

In coming years therefore Extra Care housing schemes may also incorporate a GP surgery, library, respite care, a short break service and specialist accommodation for people living with dementia and people with other complex needs.

The county council also proposes to use Extra Care as a base from which to run other community services such as car clubs, where volunteers will be able to use the cars to transport people to medical appointments, social activities, and shopping trips.  Other examples will be to have allotments with produce being used to run healthy living projects for people of all ages in the community.

The Extra Care housing scheme at Bainbridge in Wensleydale points the way ahead as it already includes a post office, community library, small shop, hair and beauty salon, all open to the public.  In addition it is used by the local GP and community nurse and it has a defribulator that people in the community can borrow while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.  The scheme was also used as a base for community preparations for the Tour de France.

Extra Care, along with other developments in early intervention and the provision of assisted technology and Telecare, will bring about change for the better by helping people across a range of living arrangements to remain independent.

Councillor Wood added: “People want to be as independent as possible throughout their lives.  That is driving the changes we now propose to bring about.”

The consultation on the “Care and Support Where I Live” strategy will be held over a 12 week period from August to November. The consultation will inform the final strategy which will be decided by the council’s Executive early in 2015.

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