COVID-19 has created significant new challenges for care homes across the UK, but it has also cast a light on old issues, including pressures on capacity and a declining ability to provide the attractive, appropriate living and care options required for our ageing population.
Will the coronavirus pandemic be a watershed moment for investment in elderly care?
Covid-19 has created momentous challenges that the elderly care sector has had to navigate. But it has also shone a new light on old issues that, at Kajima Partnerships Limited, we are constantly considering and focused on addressing. The capacity of elderly living and care homes is a significant issue that requires new and increased investment, especially with estimates that, by 2040, 13 million people above the age of 65 will live in unsuitable accommodation in the UK.
Investment in new stock is certainly a priority, but holding these assets and continuing to invest over extended periods in order to enhance accommodation is one of our fundamental commitments at Kajima.
How has this ethos been reflected in recent investments by Kajima Partnerships Limited?
A central pillar of our investment strategy is to commit to improving our assets by holding these for the long term. With the Office for National Statistics predicting that, within the next 50 years, there are likely to be an additional 8.6 million people aged over 65 in the UK, there is a clear need to take a longer term view that takes account of the needs and challenges our ageing communities will face in the decades to come.
Far from stepping back from our commitments during the pandemic, we are actively looking to enhance our role in the sector to ensure that older people have access to caring, attractive and dignified living options during the pandemic and beyond.
What did Kajima Partnerships Limited look to achieve through its most recent portfolio investments?
We have further consolidated our investments in two of our care home projects in recent weeks, increasing our stake in existing joint-venture partnerships. The team at Kajima Partnerships Limited are particularly proud to have been able to complete these transactions in a difficult economic environment. These investments demonstrate our long-term commitment to a sector in growing need of support as our elderly population grows.
What does the future hold for these investments?
By investing new funds and increasing our stake in these assets, we want to commit to the social care sector for the long term, driving improvements and investing in capacity not only in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but for the years and decades to come. Investment in new living options and beds should stand shoulder to shoulder with continued investment and future-proofing of existing care homes, noting the research from Knight Frank this month suggesting that the UK care home sector could lose 140,000 beds in the next 5 years. This is exactly why at Kajima are committed to the elderly care sector not just in the wake of COVID-19, but well beyond that.