PROPOSALS to provide an extra care housing facility in every major town in North Yorkshire to serve an increasingly ageing population could be in place by 2020.

North Yorkshire County Council is preparing a consultation on a new care strategy to meet the needs of people living with dementia.

By 2020 nearly a quarter of North Yorkshire residents will be over 65 and the number of people predicted to have dementia will have increased by more than 20 per cent.

The council aims to create at least 50 extra care housing schemes across the county to meet those needs as part of its Care and Support Where I Live strategy.

North Yorkshire’s health and adult services found people wish to live independently in their own homes and want choice over their support so they can remain part of their local communities longer.

The programme will replace the county council’s remaining elderly persons’ homes and will include supported living for younger people with a learning disability and specialist housing for people living with dementia.

Councillor Clare Wood, executive member for health and adult services, said: “We are totally convinced that the expansion and development of the extra care model is the way forward for our county.

“It provides an innovative and flexible model of partnership working to meet the care and social needs of older and vulnerable people, placing them at the very heart of their communities where they want to belong.

“In this way extra care schemes will play a pivotal role in the council’s ambition to support North Yorkshire’s communities to be active, thriving and stronger.”

Cllr Shelagh Marshall, the council's older people’s champion, was awarded the OBE for services to the elderly in June.

She said: “I’m definitely in favour of more extra care schemes.

“I know the idea of closing existing care homes is an emotive one but from what I’ve seen in many extra care facilities I’ve visited, older people have much better quality of life.

“There are restaurants that serve food when people want them, giving residents the freedom to choose when to eat. I’ve also found that family members visit more in an extra care home because the restaurant means they can eat together.

“However we do need to watch that they do have their independence but also that they do not become isolated.”

Currently the county council has 16 extra care schemes being managed across the county, providing 649 apartments of accommodation.

Extra care currently enables people aged 55 or over or other vulnerable adults to live with care according to need 24 hours a day. It provides a range of supported apartments and enables couples to stay together, have visitors to stay and to keep pets.

The consultation on the Care and Support Where I Live strategy will be held over a 12 week period from August to November.