£3.8 million Cedar Court Development Opens in Downpatrick for Elderly
A new £3m supported living development for older people has been officially opened in Downpatrick.
At the launch today (Thursday 13 June) as the sun shone down on Cedar Court hailed as a blueprint for the future, government ministers heralded the development at the leading edge of accommodation set to replace residential homes under the ‘Transforming Your Care’ health policy. Each tenant has their own apartment with their own front door and furniture, and help and support is available 24 hours a day, to allow them to live as independently as possible.
Health Minister Edwin Poots and Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland jointly opened Cedar Court sheltered housing development in Downpatrick which caters for frail older people and older people with mild to moderate dementia, and has been built in partnership between South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust, Trinity Housing Association and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
Speaking at the opening, Health Minister Poots said: “In Northern Ireland we have the fastest growing elderly population in the UK. Demographic changes have a very specific impact on demand for Health and Social Care services. As outlined in Transforming Your Care, our goal must be to ensure that older people are given every chance to live their lives to the full and as independently as possible.
“I believe Cedar Court is an example of the type of facility we want to see more of – tailored to meet the needs of its residents, maintaining their independence, but with support in place should they need it.”
Minister Poots added: “Cedar Court is testament to what can be achieved when organisations work in partnership to meet the needs of the local population.”
Cedar Court has been designed to allow residents to live independently in their own apartments comprising a living room, kitchen, one or two bedrooms, and bathroom. It aims to promote a sense of well being and create maximum choice for those living in the scheme.
DSD Minister McCausland added: “This is a magnificent scheme that has been designed with the needs of the residents clearly foremost in the decision making process. It is a good example of what can be achieved when two departments and other stakeholders work together to make independent living in the community a reality.
“Tenants at Cedar Court can now experience that independent living whilst at the same time benefitting from the reassurance of care and support from dedicated staff. Trinity Housing is to be congratulated for building this award winning development. I wish all the residents well in their new homes.”
Ian Kirkpatrick, Chairman of Trinity Housing, said: “Trinity Housing is extremely proud of Cedar Court, a housing scheme which delivers on many levels. This development incorporates all the key requirements for the residents while positively impacting the locality. Cedar Court is a shining example of how service users can benefit from collaborative working, and we are delighted with the outcome that this partnership between Trinity Housing, the Trust and the Departments have produced.”.
The scheme has 24 apartments in total, 12 for frail older people and 12 for dementia. Each has a living room, kitchen, one or two bedrooms, and bathroom.
The apartments for dementia clients are arranged around secure courtyard gardens with internal communal spaces to cater for organised leisure and recreational activities. The building has been designed with wide corridors and low level glazing to maximise sky visibility and daylight. Subtle signage and assistive technology is used to maintain residents’ safety, enhance a sense of well being and create maximum choice for those living in the scheme.
The initial response has been positive, with residents enjoying their independence but also enjoying social events and occasional communal meals. They also say they feel part of the local community, with regular shopping and social trips.
Sarah Browne, Assistant Director of Older Peoples Services in the South Eastern Trust said: “The core emphasis of the design and the planning was a response to the voice of the older person in the 2004 Audit Commission Report: ‘Older People – Independence and Well-being.’
“Older people value having a choice and control over how they live their lives. They tell us they require comfortable, secure homes, safe neighbourhoods, friendships and opportunities for learning and leisure, the ability to get out and about, an adequate income, good, relevant information and the ability to keep active and healthy.
“With well trained staff and the use of assistive technologies, Cedar Court is designed to promote independence, and facilitate empowerment and choice. This approach not only enables people to remain at ‘home’, ,but to lead healthier and more active lives within their community.”
Trinity, as a registered social landlord, works in partnership with other statutory agencies and voluntary organisations including Northern Ireland Housing Executive and all Health & Social Care Trusts for the provision of specialist care and support.
The major benefits of this supported housing project in Downpatrick are:
* Modern accommodation to ensure that older people are valued citizens and cared for in the most appropriate setting;
* Ensure that older people will be maintained and empowered to live as independently as possible in their own homes and communities, through a purpose built housing development, with choice and control over their lives;
* Enable older people to contribute to, and share in, the prosperity and resources of the community;
* The promotion of independence using assistive technology to support the ‘Lifetime Homes’ concept;
* Provide a service that allows people to “age in place” by adjusting the type and level of care and support when people’s needs change in balance with joined up, personcentred, flexible care;
* Provide a service that offers safety and security, while promoting each person’s independence;
* To improve people’s quality of life by giving older people more choice and control;
* Minimise the period of people’s lives that is spent in frailty and dependence by better promoting and extending healthy and active life.