The Guardian newspaper published two articles today highlighting a new report from the research team from United St Saviour’s Charity and Bayes Business School says that the longevity of those who move into an almshouse – the oldest form of social housing – is boosted by as much as two and a half years.
It was a remarkable outcome, said Ben Rickayzen, a professor of actuarial science at Bayes and co-author of the Almshouse Longevity Study, equating to a 73-year-old man receiving a longevity boost of 2.4 years – an extra 15% of future lifetime – compared with his peers from the same socioeconomic group, and 0.7 years when compared with an average 73-year-old from the general population.
Alison Benzimra, head of research at United St Saviour’s Charity, said many almshouse trustees and staff members anecdotally believe that almshouse living is beneficial for residents. The results from this study demonstrate that the community spirit provided by almshouses does in fact result in longer life expectancy.
Kim Baxter is about to move into Appleby Blue, United St Saviour’s Charity’s new almshouse in Bermondsey. “My husband currently has to sleep in a chair because he’s got such severe leg disabilities,” said the 68-year-old. “This new flat is adapted for someone with his disabilities. Our lives have been so restricted for so long that this is going to give us both a new lease of life.”
Kim and Terry Baxter at the second viewing of their new almshouse flat in Southwark, London. Photograph: Sean Smith/The Guardian
Speaking of Appleby Blue, Martyn Craddock, chief executive of United St Saviour’s Charity said this study’s findings are encouraging to those living and working in the almshouse community and provide the motivation to continue to explore what it is about almshouses’ physical design and support services that result in positive outcomes for older residents. This study strengthens the case that this historic form of housing is addressing the evolving needs of older people living in our modern-day society.
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