We’ve spent the last four years talking to policy-makers, private equity funders and leading industry players about the urgent need to abolish care homes and provide aspirational housing for older people. They seem to hear but don’t listen or act, and I think we could be forgiven for feeling like the Evermore mission is just too hard.
How do we breakthrough entrenched attitudes amongst incumbent institutions? They believe that we can’t really innovate in aged care, ever larger residential nursing homes are the only option for frail elderly, and that appealing choices are laudable but who’s going to pay?
And then we read stories like this one in The Guardian and we have our determination and vigour restored.
The opening phrase of the story: “I would never put my parents into a care home” is telling of itself. We don’t see the action of moving into residential care as a positive choice actively taken by individuals but as a forced, guilty decision made by relatives at the end of their rope.
How did we get here in a modern, civilised society? The only people these days who are warehoused and regimented in a similar fashion are at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. And on top of all this, it costs well beyond anyone’s annual income to ‘live’ this way. Latest reports indicate that living in a care home will cost in excess of £30,000/annum and that’s a conservative estimate in our experience.
So, given that everyone feels guilty about ‘putting’ their loved ones into one of these dismal institutions, why is no-one shouting louder for appealing alternatives that exist successfully in other parts of the developed world? We only hear of the financial strain and stress from the industry, and the aversion to risk from the investment community because they can’t “see one here”. And have we forgotten that we’re all ageing too?
Well, we’re not prepared to end our lives in an institution where we have no control over our day. We’re building a global mission with Evermore. We’re bringing the best innovation in built environment, location, support and lifestyle to the UK and beyond. We’re so convinced of our objective that we’ve sunk all our available funds into bringing it to life. We think it’s time for others to join us to bring consumer scale to our innovation. For a sector that has stagnated for over 40-years, it’s really time to take the plunge and invest in new models. What on earth is there to lose?
What are you going to do? Accept the inevitability of a grim end like the elderly folk in our opening story? Or embrace ageing and celebrate longevity with us? We’re ready to engage.
Sara McKee, Evermore Founder and Director of Market Innovation
Follow Sara on Twitter @SaraMcKeeFRSA