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That’s just one of the questions being asked in a county-wide survey launched this week to find out what people think about care homes in the county and how they should look in the future.

Gloucestershire County Council has teamed up with research consultancy Evolving Communities and the county’s independent health and social care champion Healthwatch Gloucestershire to ask the county’s over 65s what they think about local care homes provision.

This piece of research will help to form Gloucestershire County Council’s strategy for the commissioning of residential and nursing care provision in the county.  The strategy sets out the key priorities for older peoples care home provision in Gloucestershire.

It is estimated that by 2030, Gloucestershire’s population of people over 65 will rise from 135,100 to 178,100 (up 31.8%), whilst the number of over 75s will increase in the same period from 62,100 to 92,600 (up 49.1%).  The number of people over 65 living with a long-term illness is set to rise from 62,100 to 92,600 by 2030. During the same time there will be an increase in those people over 65 with a dementia, from 9,500 to 14,100.

There are currently around 6,600 older people in Gloucestershire receiving council funded long-term care and support packages, such as community care, residential and nursing care.

Local residents, their families and care home providers are being asked what they think is important to older people when choosing a care home and what facilities they would like to see provided.

Views so far have included: “I think having many activities to do to keep the brain active is really important,” said Brian from the Forest of Dean. “Making sure that there is enough community transport or buses for people to be able to get around,” Margaret from Gloucester said.

“I want to be able to have lots to do in my community and access to local supermarkets and shops,” said Angie from Cheltenham.  And Simon from Gloucester added: “There needs to be a real sense of community when we grow old. I feel this is vital.”

Julia Butler-Hunt, Manager at Healthwatch Gloucestershire, said: “We’re keen to speak to as many people as we can who are aged over 65 in Gloucestershire and find out what matters to them when it comes to care homes in the county.  What would make a care home a great place to live in?  Free wi-fi?  Making a care home a community hub? Building a care home next to a shopping centre?

“We want local people to share with us in our short online survey what they think. People’s views will make a real difference to the plans being put in place by Gloucestershire County Council.”

The research will also focus on the social care needs and wishes of ‘seldom heard groups’ – including people in the LGBT+, Hindu, Muslim and Polish communities.  Focus groups in the LGBT+ community will run in Cheltenham, on Thursday 18th October, 6.15 – 8.15pm and in Gloucester, on Tuesday 23rd October, 5.30 – 7.30pm.

Dr Sara Nelson from Evolving Communities explained: “Research has identified that LGBT+ people disproportionately suffer from loneliness and isolation.  There are lots of issues they may face within the care environment and we hope this survey will help people share their views and ideas on how best to provide care provision in the future.

“Other groups, such as those in the Hindu and Polish communities, traditionally care for older people in their homes, but early conversations with people in these communities in Gloucestershire suggest this is changing.  Families are more dispersed and their busy lives mean they can’t care full-time for ageing relatives, so care homes become more of possibility.

“However, their needs and expectations of care homes are different and we are keen to understand these.  We would also like to hear from other communities whose needs and expectations of care in later life are different, for example, the Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities.”

To take part in the survey – visit: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/FutureCare/

The survey closes on Wednesday 24 October.

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