On Starts at Home Day, Riverside celebrates young and older residents coming together to support each other and forging new friendships as a result of Riverside’s unique extra care housing model.
Jess Hoodlass, 24 and Mike Coombs, 60, are a strong example of how intergenerational living can support residents’ lives, helping to combat isolation and loneliness.
Jess got chatting to Mike, the first resident of Redwood Glades in Hull, in communal areas when she moved in to her home a couple of years ago. Jess, who has mild learning difficulties, has forged a lasting friendship with Mike who has taken her under his wing and looks upon Jess as the daughter he never had, providing reassurance and security.
Jess and Mike meet up at mealtimes in the restaurant or have a coffee and a chat, as well as enjoying the entertainment activities on offer at the scheme, which includes singers, dancers, magicians and comedians.
Mike, who also met his partner Carol Mowforth at Redwood Glades and were the first couple to get engaged, said: “I treat Jess as the daughter I’ve never had. It’s interesting to see the opinions of the younger and older generations. I’ve always been a people person – I get on with whoever’s there. This is a home-from-home here; I’ve really fallen on my feet. I have no qualms about the level of support here, they go above and beyond.”
Jess needs support with budgeting and socialising and has developed confidence by mixing with and caring for the older residents.
“I feel settled here and I like talking with the older residents, like Mike”, added Jess. “I find it better here, as you have your own apartment, your own space.”
Two years on from their launch, Riverside’s extra care homes in Hull continue to support their residents’ well-being and have developed a range of activities. These include groups coming in to the schemes to engage with the residents, including animal therapy sessions with alpacas, husky dogs and donkeys. Reminiscing activities are also held, which are led by a local rugby team, as well as entertainment on a monthly basis.
Ruth Westoby, Riverside Wellbeing & Events Coordinator at Redwood Glades, said: “Intergenerational living works; most people would prefer to mix with people of all ages, gaining confidence and learning from other people’s experience. Older people like the fact it’s a mixed age group and not like a care home.
“Intergenerational living is like a street with a roof over. It brings people together, maintaining resident’s independence, whilst supporting them with the security of knowing there is 24-hour care available.”
The benefits of intergenerational supported housing
- Residents interact with others of all ages, developing confidence and tackling feelings of isolation or loneliness.
- Most people prefer to gain experiences of interacting with a mixed age group.
- Residents of all ages are enabled to live a social and active life, pursuing their goals and ambitions.
- Residents are supported to maintain their independence and well-being, with onsite 24-hr emergency care.
Riverside’s schemes have integrated to become part of Hull’s community, with nearby St. James’ Primary School singing at Open Days at Redwood Glades and giving Carol Concerts at Christmas, as well as groups such as Talk4Stroke, the Stroke Association and the Alzheimer’s Society singing for the brain, coming in to give engaging sessions.
There are reception areas in the schemes, with onsite facilities including: hairdressing, chiropody, beauty therapy and further activities including Bingo, coffee mornings and Bank Holiday Fun Days.
Riverside opened its extra care schemes at Harrison Park, Cecil Gardens and Redwood Glades in 2017, helping people aged 18 up to those in their 90s with a range of care and support needs to live independently in their own homes, with onsite 24-hr emergency care provided by Hales Care, which also delivers individual care packages on a daily basis. The Riverside team at Redwood Glades includes a Service Manager, Wellbeing & Events Coordinator and six Customer Service Assistants covering the Reception.
Riverside manages nearly 320 one and two-bed apartments across the three schemes, working in partnership with the Social Services team at Hull City Council, who have assessed the care needs of the residents to enable people of all ages with learning and physical disabilities, challenging behaviours and health issues to reach their potential.