Guild Living, Legal & General’s urban later living business, has partnered with the University of Bath to launch a research project focused on identifying solutions to healthy ageing.
Guild Living will use the findings to drive its decision making around architectural design, technology, wellbeing and care across its pipeline of later living communities.
Figures suggest more than 10 million people in the UK today can expect to see their 100th birthday, compared to the just 15,000 centurions who are currently alive.
However, living longer doesn’t mean living well, and ageing populations are creating new demands for technologies, products and services, including new care and different housing models.
More than 10 million people in the UK today
can expect to see their 100th birthday,
compared to the 15,000 100 year olds
who are currently alive
Source: Legal & General
In 2017, the government made ageing a key part of its industrial strategy, committing £400m to support research across the country.
The first project currently underway by the partnership explores the causes and impact of emotional loneliness in older people living in Australia and Britain.
Qualitative data is being sourced from individuals residing in later living communities, drawing from interviews about people’s experiences of attachment, close relationships, loneliness and the transition to retirement community living.
The research aims to identify interventions and support which can improve health and independence, while significantly reducing social isolation.
The results of the study will be used to drive development decisions and adapted into bespoke programmes, rolled out across Guild Living’s communities.
Professor Malcolm Johnson, visiting Professor at University of Bath, who is leading the project, said the dominant feature of old age care is looking after people’s health and safety, yet all too often people are being left in their own homes and on their own with minimal human contact.
“This risks physical, emotional and cognitive decline,” he warned. “Our research will investigate what interventions we can make to reinstate people’s confidence, tackle one of the biggest killers, loneliness, and shift our culture towards valuing – rather than ostracising – people in their older years.”
Eugene Marchese, founder at Guild Living, added that with an ageing population and a growing social care crisis, Britain has an opportunity to embrace radical change – not just in housing or care – but how it treats older people.
“The University of Bath is one of the premier institutions in ageing research and is the perfect partner for us as we begin our journey to tackle ageism across the spectrum,” he added.