Jenny Chapman, Interim Director of Health and Wellbeing at ForViva, explains how Extra Care schemes are improving the health of customers and transforming lives.

A key priority at ForViva is improving customers’ wellbeing. As we all grow older we strive to keep active with things to do and stay connected to others. Being in the right type of accommodation is critical to maintaining independence and wellbeing, but there is no "one fits all" model which is why we have continued to invest and develop Extra Care Housing as one option for people to "age in place."

It is important as we grow older to keep those things that give us meaning and purpose close. We have made this possible for people by developing specialist housing within communities.

We recognise one type of home does not meet everyone’s need so we have invested in developing choice for people.

Extra care schemes, like ForViva’s Amblecote Gardens development in Salford, provide a lifeline for an increasing number of people and their families.

It’s never been more important to evidence the positive impact that these schemes can have. Access to the right kind of housing does not only improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and their families, it also prevents an over reliance on Health and Social Care services sustaining people in their communities for longer.

We asked customers and their families how Amblecote Gardens had improved their lives and were delighted with the outcomes - everyone that responded said there had been an improvement to their general health and wellbeing.

Findings showed 90% of residents said they felt less stressed after moving to the scheme, with one customer telling us she no longer experiences palpitations thanks to on-site staff and another telling us her blood pressure had gone down.

In addition, 100% of people said they are eating better and gaining weight thanks to the freshly prepared meals they can choose from at the on-site restaurant.

The survey also found that customers feel safer and more secure, and reassured by the team being on hand round the clock.

People feel they are less of a burden on their family, which results in positive outcomes not only for the person living in Extra Care but the wider family.

90% of customers told us they feel more confident and less isolated because of activities on offer

Edward Grundy, 62, is just one resident of Amblecote Gardens who feels his life has improved as a result of Extra Care Housing.

Edward was living at a homeless hostel, had substance misuse issues and had been diagnosed with dementia when ForViva starting meeting with him and looking at appropriate accommodation for him.

Just a couple of months after moving to Amblecote Gardens, Edward’s confidence increased, he’s since made new friends and he feels his life had changed for the better.

Edward is living more independently and needs less support with day-to-day activities such as shopping and budgeting now that he’s settled in.

His general health has improved too - he has reduced his alcohol intake and smokes less.

Edward explained: “Before I moved to Amblecote Gardens I used to live on the streets. I didn’t have anything. Now I have my own flat, I have friends and I feel safe. I never thought I would have that in a million years.

“My life has changed so much for the better that I want to use my experience to help others. That’s why I enjoy helping plan the activities and try my best to show new people round the scheme. I can’t thank the staff enough.”

Extra care schemes offer customers those things that matter to all of us, ‘somewhere to live, people to connect with and things to do, together in an environment that supports independence where people can feel safe in a place that is their home.

‘It’s a real community in the community.’

ForViva will continue to work hard to offer the right housing options, support and opportunities for customers to live well in the community.

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