SEVERAL sites for housing vulnerable and disabled people are to be prioritised, according to a new report from Dorset Council.

The council has set out its Extra Care Strategy which is designed to provide an alternative to more institutional forms of care and will prioritise the development of four new extra care housing schemes across Dorset. 

This includes progressing with current council led extra care housing developments in Bridport and Wareham as well as prioritising development of a further two council commissioned extra care sites in Weymouth and east Dorset

The housing being created is accommodation with self-contained flats and generous communal spaces.

Tenants have a tenancy or lease and their own fully accessible bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room.  

The housing is designed to adapt to changing care needs and to the needs of people with disabilities, those who are socially excluded and people with long term health need

The report presented to the council's health and overview committed also highlighted three additional key strategies for extra care housing in the county.

It said it will provide more 'well designed and fully accessible extra care homes', review current sheltered housing schemes to consider 'suitability for refurbishment or redevelopment as extra care housing', and will commission and fund a 24/7 onsite support and care model for new and existing schemes.

Jon Price, executive director for adult social care and housing, said the strategy supported the delivery of the council’s plan to provide “a better life” for Dorset residents. 

He said: “We know that extra care housing has the potential to transform the lives of people who live there – helping people to stay independent, to continue to be part of a community, and to enjoy older age.

"It’s about creating vibrant, safe, and supportive environments where our residents can thrive." 

The council said it took an evidence-based approach, considering similar schemes in other local authorities.

Data that backed up the need for extra care housing included a significant and growing older population – currently 113,000 older residents, growing a further 32 percent by 2036.

A 43 per cent increase in the number of over 75-year-olds over the same period was also taken into account as was significant rises in people with dementia and older people with mobility challenges.

An ongoing demand for suitable accommodation and support services for people aged 18-64 with mobility issues, learning disabilities, mental health conditions, and autism was also highlighted. 

One of the benefits of extra care housing mentioned in the report was that residents with long-term care and health needs were living in a suitable and adaptable home of their own.  

Maximising the independence of residents with care needs and reducing pressure on adult social care spending was also mentioned as a benefit.

Mr Price added: “Extra Care Housing allows people to have their own living space, flexible care and support with help being available in an emergency.

"It can also sometimes prevent or delay the need for a move to a care home, and it has been nationally recognised that a good quality, stable and suitable place to live is crucial to so many other aspects of health and wellbeing.

"Extra Care is a great example of how housing and social care work together for the benefit of people living there, and Dorset Council are fully committed to delivering this strategy and growing our supply of excellent extra care housing.”