Extra care is a great option for older people who want the independence of living in their own home, but peace of mind that support is available with day-to-day living if they need it.
Earlier in the year, we met with one of our residents, Graham, who's lived in residential care since he was seven and a half. Graham lives at Highdown Court with his wife who he met while both living in a residential care home in West Sussex.
We asked Graham to tell us how extra care has changed his life for the better...
What's been your experience of moving to extra care?
Having lived in residential care for many years, I was nervous for such a big change, but also excited to take on a new challenge. The biggest thing for me is that I have my own front door and I can come and go as I please. In residential care you're on one set care package, but in extra care, the support received is specially tailored to you. I can get up and see my carer before my wife wakes up, which gives us the rest of the day to do whatever we want.
What has it done for you and how has it improved your quality of life?
Moving to extra care has shown that taking on new challenges is possible for me. Earlier this year, I was quite poorly and ended up in hospital. Being back home now and feeling better has given me more confidence living in extra care. I know that if it happens again, I'll get the same support as I did in residential care, if not more. In the past, I've been part of the interview process for managers at residential care homes to give them my seal of approval! I think it's important for people receiving the care to have a voice and say how they feel.
What do you like most about where you live now?
In residential care, meals were planned and came at set times. Now I can choose what I eat and when I eat it. My wife and I go out a few times a week, so we like that we can have our meal later in the day when we get home. We've got more choice and flexibility here. I'd like to be able to get out more and volunteer in the community, but transport limits me. I'm pushing for a disability minibus for the local area, to help more people like me get out and about.
What's your relationship like with your Scheme Manager, Heidi? (We laugh as Heidi sits directly behind us)
I feel very settled here. I haven't had the best experience over the years in residential care, which I've told Heidi all about. I think Heidi and I have a good rapport going and I'm grateful that I was accepted at Highdown Court, so thank you very much. Heidi's helped me with lots of form filling and calling the local authorities which has helped my wife and I receive the right benefits.
How has Saxon Weald helped you the most?
When I came to Saxon Weald, I was slightly under age for an extra care scheme. However, both my wife and I have relatively high care needs. We came to Highdown Court for a half day assessment and felt excited and positive about living here. Saxon Weald agreed that because of our care needs, moving to extra care was the right thing to do. We've had our kitchen lowered to make it more accessible and automatic doors put in at the front of our flat to make it easier to get in and out.