A changing care landscape demands new living arrangements. While nursing homes may long have been the only available option for seniors, new alternatives are starting to emerge. Nursing homes take a back seat, with different types of living solutions gaining ground. In this article, we’ll take a look at these new alternatives.
Globally speaking, we can distinguish 4 different living arrangements: individual living, group living, living in a residential community and nursing homes.
This living arrangement focuses on individuality. Seniors remain in their own, trusted environment granted they can receive the necessary help from friends, family and other people close to them.
Kangaroo housing fits this vision perfectly. In a kangaroo house, seniors can still live independently, but continue to be monitored closely. Furthermore, this solution is also financially favourable.
If the need for proper care becomes more apparent and if it can no longer be sustained by the environment alone, assisted living facilities are a convenient in-between option. Here too, individual and independent living, with the necessary caring measures within reach, is key.
Living in groups has increased in popularity among seniors. The focus lies on the fact that everyone has their own living space, but now supplemented with shared spaces for all visitors.
In practice, we can identify this type of living arrangement in various ways. Social houses are often built with a joint entrance and a shared open space, but alternatives such as coliving or cohousing are starting to emerge.
Coliving implies that everyone is in possession of their own house or living space, with the exception of a few shared amenities, such as a garden or a laundry room. Contrary to social houses, people that partake in coliving choose to be part of a group and live with others in a group.
Cohousing suggests that people all live under the same roof, each with their own bedrooms and such, though sharing a few spaces still. As is the case with coliving, cohousing is a choice made entirely by the inhabitants themselves.
More seniors choose to live in a living community. One can make the comparison with a student residence, where everyone has their own room, but the rest is shared.
This living arrangement closely resembles a living community, where everyone must pitch in. Making agreements is of great importance for this type of arrangement to succeed. At the same time, inhabitants can always count on each other for help.
Nursing homes will always have a spot within the family of living arrangements. Seniors in need of serious care and attention can always opt for a nursing home as a safe and reliable choice. Though, with the rise of new living arrangements, nursing homes will slowly be considered a last resort.
We therefore expect that the meaning of the term ‘nursing home’ will undergo some changes. From an intramural care model, we will gravitate towards a model without boundaries; a model in which care is no longer only provided from within the nursing home, but also outside of it.
Next to professional caretakers, the need to rely on informal caretakers such as friends and family increases. Only in this way can we continue to bear the increasing ageing of our society while care professionals themselves are partly unburdened. This brings us right back to the importance of new living arrangements.
Jane also would like to contribute. Read how we aim to do this in our blogpost “Jane creates a new world for elderly care”.