It’s a privilege to hear from families about the great care and support their loved ones have received – and I’ve read some heart-warming comments this week.

One lady wrote to us to say that her father’s final days in Kimberley Court, Cornwall, were marked by ‘exceptional care and kindness’ in which ‘no one could have done more for Dad.’

A relative of a resident at Heyberry House on The Wirral said his aunt enjoyed feeling ‘safe, secure and part of a bigger family’. Someone enjoying a respite stay at Eastlake in Surrey said he received ‘superb’ care in a home where the atmosphere is ‘one of happiness’.

Our strapline of “Happy living for the years ahead” means we’re committed to providing great housing and care both today and in the future though. And that’s why we have been calling on the government to plan ahead more effectively for the growing number of people who will need care and support in old age.

It’s a theme I highlighted in letters published in The Times and the Daily Mail following a week in which social care has dominated the headlines.
On Monday, the media covered news from the Care & Support Alliance, which includes Anchor among its members, that two-thirds of those aged 60 and above think the Government should divert cash from other areas to fund social care.

On Wednesday, the Commission on Residential Care said that NHS Trusts should sell surplus land next to hospitals to build enough care homes and supported living apartments to meet increasing demand. As a member of the commission, I was also pleased that our report included a recommendation for introducing an industry-wide ‘licence to practise’ ensuring all care workers receive a minimum level of training before they are able to support people unsupervised.

Then on Thursday, the King’s Fund published its Barker Commission report recommending more money for social care and better integration with health, something we also call for in our Grey Pride manifesto.

Well done to all those colleagues who have MPs visiting their locations to discuss our manifesto. Engaging with local stakeholders helps show we listen to older people, understand their issues and that our locations are at the hearts of communities.

Listening to older people also helps shape our organisation. In coming weeks I’ll be talking more about the exciting plans we’ve got to strengthen and grow our business so more people can enjoy happy living with us, supported by the most dedicated, skilled and able people.

We have to take steps now to be fit for the future – to ensure our resources are focused on providing the best experience for the older people we serve. That requires us to cut bureaucracy, tighten our processes and find more efficient ways of doing things.

Initiatives such as our automated people management system, myHR, and our Voice and Data Project will help. How our people put the values and behaviours into practice will also make an enormous difference.

It’s only through joint working across the organisation that we can ensure “exceptional care and kindness” is the norm.

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