This report from the Housing Learning and Improvement Network explores the contributions that residents in retirement community settings can make towards supporting their peers. It looks at approaches to building “social capital” in specialist housing for older people, taking examples good practice in volunteering, peer support, social enterprise and co-production.
Living in retirement housing may not always bring about a sense of community and bonding with scheme neighbours. While extra care housing brings new opportunities for social life, the people most likely to continue experiencing social isolation tend to be those with high support needs, particularly those with mobility, dementia and / or sensory impairment issues.
The authors point out the challenges and barriers typically faced by older and vulnerable people and reflect on how to balance being “a good neighbour” with the responsibility for delivery of personal care and support in retirement and extra care housing. Their report discusses related issues, including those touching upon “choice and control”, co-production in micro-communities, mutuality and localism.
Blood, I. and Pannell, I. (2012). Building mutual support and social capital in retirement communities. London: Housing Learning & Improvement Network, February 2012. Housing LIN Viewpoint No.23.