CACI, the consumer and location intelligence specialist, is challenging the status quo with its latest research on senior living, a sector which last year saw a record-breaking £1.4bn investment. Breaking misconceptions around location planning, the analysis also identifies the best opportunities for growth in senior living, and reveals a clear need for specialist accommodation providers to change their marketing strategies.
CACI’s research has shown that providers should be looking at areas with middle-aged populations, as well as those with more elderly populations. This will allow them to better target those who will be making decisions for elderly relatives, as well as tailor their offers to meet their preferences as they look towards their own care options. This will open new opportunities for expansion for providers across the sector.
The survey was designed to consider perceptions of the senior living sector, comparing the views of people who currently have a loved one in care with those who do not. In both instances, the majority of respondents to CACI’s survey – 66% of those with a loved one in care, and 61% without – believe that when making the decision on accommodation, proximity to family or a loved one is important. This compares with 31% and 14% respectively who think proximity to their existing home is important, suggesting that site selection should be focused on areas with a higher proportion of the elderly person’s support network.
In addition to this, for 75% of cases, the person in charge of deciding the living situation of an elderly person is a loved one. This emphasises the need to make a concerted effort to promote facilities to family and friends, as well as the elderly person, to gain the confidence of all decision makers.
The research has also revealed the potential for enhancing provisions of other forms of elderly living care. While amongst respondents with a loved one in care there is no clear preference in accommodation type, for those without a loved one in care, 63% see domiciliary as the best option. This should encourage more investment into in-home paid care, as there is a clear desire from decision makers to see their loved ones remain in their own home for as long as possible.
Tom Clarke, Senior Care Lead at CACI, said: “This research sets out clear findings that will really help people working in senior living deliver the best types of support for the future. We know there has previously been a thought that the best place to have care homes is closer to where older people live, on the basis that the transition would be easier. What we are seeing however is that decision makers, who are typically loved ones, have a preference to relocate closer to where they are instead. Having a support network close by is clearly important.
“What has also come to light is just how significant the desire is for older people to be able to stay at home. While this shouldn’t be seen as taking away from the other forms of senior living, domiciliary care is a growth market, and investment in it by both commercial and public sector providers is necessary to ensure the entire sector is future-proofed.”
The senior living sector has been subject to a notable amount of corporate activity in recent months, with big hitting investors seeking to take advantage of demographic trends and the ageing population. Patrizia, for example, is looking to make its debut in the UK’s booming retirement living market, following the footsteps of other big names including M&G and Nuveen.
There is also increasing ambition from the government to address the market, firstly with their new plan for adult social care reform in England and the impending creation of a cross-department Older People’s Housing Taskforce. With growing investment, and a clear understanding of the need to deliver a more diversified post-retirement product, investors and developers alike need to understand the insights shaping the sector.
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