ALMSHOUSE residents in Stratford can expect a boost to their life expectancy, according to a new study.
The new report, by Bayes Business School, found that living in an almshouse can boost the longevity of its residents by as much as two-and-a-half years compared to their counterparts in the general population.
Analysing up to 100 years’ worth of residents’ records from various almshouses in England, the research suggests that living in these communities can reduce the negative impact on health and social wellbeing, which is commonly experienced by the older population in lower socioeconomic groups, particularly those individuals who are living in isolation.
They show that, for several of the almshouses included in the study, residents can expect to live as long as wealthier members of the general population despite coming from the most deprived quintile.
This shows that the disparity in longevity and health outcomes could be mitigated even after reaching retirement age, provided a suitable social infrastructure can be put in place.
In Stratford, Municipal Charities provides almshouse accommodation for 47 local people in housing need.
From the first almshouse established in Church Street in 1417 to 1418 by the Guild of the Holy Cross for ten residents, Municipal Charities have expanded the number of almshouses over the years.
Seventeen residents now live in Guild Cottages. Mary Newlands Almshouses with four residents was established in 1857. St Josephs Homestead with eight residents was established in 1912, John Roberts Almshouse with six residents was established in 1936 and Shakespeare Court with 12 residents was established in 1958.
The charity are currently hoping to build more almshouse accommodation in Guild Street for at least five residents.
The report concludes that almshouses could help the government’s aims to reduce inequalities in mortality, which are observed between socioeconomic groups, by reducing the social isolation experienced by many in the older population.
Andy Smith, Municipal Charities Chair of Trustees, said: “We are really pleased that the Bayes Business School report shows that almshouses can increase the longevity of their residents. This is certainly the case with our almshouses where our oldest resident will be celebrating his 99th birthday this year and another resident has been living with us for 26 years.”
One Stratford almshouse resident, Phil Sweet, added:“I have always appreciated the friendly helpful neighbourliness that we all enjoy in our almshouse.”