Sheltered housing is based on the concept of the ghetto, in which pensioners are confined to a separate enclave of homes in order not to irritate younger people by walking slowly, buying postage stamps and reminiscing.
The homes are specially designed for older people, with power sockets at waist level, taps that can be turned by head-butting them and baths with grab rails, hoists, non-slip mats and lifeboats.
To keep them free of potentially harmful germs and infections, most are hermetically sealed and entered via an air lock. Many have a resident concierge, or commandant, to collect prescriptions, exercise pets (see Alligators) and arrange loans from a local payday lender. Some also have communal facilities such as a residents’ lounge, where inmates are forced to listen to songs they hated the first time round, a sensory garden (otherwise known as a small lavender in a large container) and an in-house cinema showing Brief Encounter eight times a day.
Under government plans to centralise services for the elderly, all sheltered house will, from 2017, be built in Kidderminster.